The caller tune that plays by default to spread awareness on COVID-19 will be stopped soon, reports citing official sources said on March 28.
"No more caller tune on COVID-19. It is going to stop soon," an official told news agency ANI on condition of anonymity. A day earlier, a source close to wire agency PTI said “official sources” are thinking of "dropping COVID-19 pre-call announcements from phones after almost two years of raising awareness about disease."
Since March 2020, when the coronavirus was declared as a pandemic, the government had directed all telecom operators to ensure its announcement, in the form of a caller tune, is played before phone users connect to each other on a call.
Initially featuring the voice of Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, the caller tune was aimed at promoting measures like wearing face masks, using hand sanitisers and maintaining social distancing to reduce the rate of virus transmission.
In January 2021, the caller tune was modified to promote the government vaccination's drive. "The new year has brought a new ray of hope in the form of vaccines. Vaccines developed in India are safe, effective and will provide immunity," it stated.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The message was further modified in October last year to highlight the success of the vaccination drive, as the countrywide inoculation numbers crossed the 100-crore milestone.
India has so far administered over 180 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with around 83 percent of the adult population being double vaccinated. Up to 98 percent of the citizens aged above 18 have received at least one dose of the jab, the government said.
The country's per-day coronavirus count has dropped sharply over the past few days. The daily tally has remained below 2,000 for the past nine days. As per the last update issued by the state health department on March 28, a total of 1,421 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate dropped to 0.23 percent.