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COVID-19 | Mumbai's civic body asked to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccines: Aaditya Thackeray

Mumbai, along with other parts of India, is currently administering Covishield and Covaxin - the two domestically-manufactured vaccines - on the eligible beneficiaries.

May 10, 2021 / 10:04 PM IST
The vaccination drive in Mumbai has faced roadblocks due to lack of doses (File image: Reuters)

The vaccination drive in Mumbai has faced roadblocks due to lack of doses (File image: Reuters)


The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the civic body of Mumbai, has been asked to explore the "possibilities of global procurement" of COVID-19 vaccines for the city, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray said on May 10.

The import of vaccines from abroad is expected to address the shortfall of doses which Mumbai has been reporting since the past month. The available stock was further stressed after the vaccination drive was thrown open for all citizens aged above 18.

"Looking at the need for adequate vaccines to ensure that vaccination is swift & efficient, after discussing the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray ji, as guardian minister of Mumbai, we have asked BMC to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccines (sic)," Aaditya Thackeray tweeted.

Mumbai, India's financial capital, has emerged as a hotspot in both waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. With experts raising an alarm over a possible third wave, the civic authority began planning the import of vaccines in a bid to avert the next round of crisis.

BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, while speaking to Bloomberg on May 10, said the civic body was discussing with the Maharashtra government that whether it should float separate tenders for purchase of vaccines from global manufacturers.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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Also Read: Covaxin doses unavailable for 2nd day in Mumbai; citizens fume

"The state government tender might be very huge, like 40 million, and no foreign supplier can match that kind of number, but if I just float 5 million vaccines, bids may come up from two-three companies," Chahal was quoted as saying.

Mumbai, along with other parts of India, is currently administering Covishield and Covaxin - the two domestically-manufactured vaccines - on the eligible beneficiaries.

The city, which had last month reached a peak of over 11,000 daily cases, has significantly controlled the crisis.

As per the update issued on May 10, the city reported 1,794 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, whereas, the number of recoveries was nearly double at 3,580. The active caseload has declined to 45,534.

The vaccination drive would be further ramped up in the city to tide over the health crisis, Aaditya Thackeray suggested.

"Our efforts to increase vaccination centres are constantly on going and the @mybmc shall be having a centre in every municipal ward, along with a drive in vaccination centre across all zones of Mumbai (sic)," he tweeted.

"I request all other cities in Maharashtra to also have the drive in vaccination for citizens above the age of 65 for their ease and comfort," he further said.

Thackeray also claimed that the government is working on a method to "ensure that the non tech savvy citizens and those who can’t operate the CoWin app with ease" can also be vaccinated.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 10, 2021 10:04 pm

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