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COVID-19 vaccination in India 57% less than production, Centre's data reveals

On a daily basis, 28.33 lakh doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are produced in the country. Yet, the average number of beneficiaries vaccinated in one day stands at 12 to 13 lakhs, the Centre told the Kerala High Court in an affidavit submitted on May 24.

May 24, 2021 / 08:10 PM IST
A healthcare worker gives a dose of Covishield, a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, to a woman at a hospital, in New Delhi. (Representative image: Reuters)

A healthcare worker gives a dose of Covishield, a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, to a woman at a hospital, in New Delhi. (Representative image: Reuters)

Centre told the Kerala High Court on May 24 that India is currently producing more than 8.5 crore doses of coronavirus vaccine per month. This means, on a daily basis, 28.33 lakh doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are produced in the country. Yet, the average number of beneficiaries vaccinated in one day stands at 12 to 13 lakhs, meaning only 57 percent of the daily production reaches the vaccine beneficiaries, reported NDTV.

The Kerala High Court, which has taken suo moto cognizance of the COVID-19 situation in the state, had told the Centre in its May 20 hearing, to provide a time frame for vaccination in Kerala. The Centre had replied saying there is no fixed time frame.

The Union Government at the Centre, which has been facing immense criticism over the acute vaccine shortage in the country, told the Kerala HC that it has “no fixed target for dispensation of vaccines to the states and Union Territories”.

This statement comes as several states like Delhi and Maharashtra have had to shut down multiple coronavirus vaccination centres due to a shortage of vaccines. This includes the supply of both Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – two of the three COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorisation in India.

The Centre has informed the HC that SII is currently producing 6.5 crore doses of Covishield per month and Bharat Biotech is producing two crore doses of Covaxin per month.

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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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Both firms are expected to boost production further by July 2021, the Centre said, adding that this might help tackle the COVID-19 vaccine crisis in the country.

Notably, the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V is also being administered in India and is expected to increase production from 30 lakh doses per month to 1.2 crore doses by July 2021.

Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 24, 2021 08:10 pm

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