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COVID-19 India vaccine news today: No vaccination for pregnant, lactating women at this time, says health ministry

India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16 in what PM Narendra Modi has called the world's largest inoculation programme.

January 15, 2021 / 09:08 AM IST

Ministry said getting vaccinated will be voluntary.

The Union Health Ministry has informed all states and union territories that interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines is not permitted, and pregnant and lactating women should not be administered the shots as they have not been part of any anti-coronavirus vaccine clinical trial so far.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had recently granted emergency use authorisation to two COVID-19 vaccines – Covishield, developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16 in what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the world's largest inoculation programme.

Ahead of the vaccination drive, in a letter to all states and UTs, the ministry highlighted that under the emergency use authorisation, coronavirus vaccination is indicated only for 18 years and above.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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Around three lakh healthcare and frontline workers will be inoculated at 2,934 sites across the country on the first day of the nationwide vaccination drive.

The ministry has already said that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 will be voluntary.

Here are all developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine in India:

> A consignment of an anti-COVID vaccine comprising its 93,000 doses reached Himachal Pradesh's capital Shimla on January 14, said State Health Secretary Amitabh Avasthi. The consignment of Covishield vaccine had been airlifted from Pune to Chandigarh, from where it was brought to Shimla by road, he said.

> A consignment of 18,500 COVID-19 vaccines, to be used in the first phase of inoculation, arrived in Aizawl from New Delhi on the day.

> The first consignment of 32,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Arunachal Pradesh in a vaccine van from Guwahati on the day.

Also read | India's COVID-19 vaccine: Who'll get it, when and how - All you need to know

> Nagaland received its first consignment of 26,500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, said an official. The vials arrived from Delhi at Dimapur Airport in an aircraft, he said.

> A Maharashtra government official has said it will take six to seven months for the vaccine to become available for those who are not in the high-risk category.

> Around 1.62 lakh COVID-19 vaccine has reached all the 24 districts of Jharkhand for the scheduled first phase of the vaccination drive on January 16, according to a top Health department official.

(With inputs from PTI)

Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 15, 2021 08:07 am

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