The government's plan aims to cover over 23 percent of the population in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination.
As the work continues to develop an effective vaccine for COVID-19, the government has begun the process of identifying 30 crore people who will receive the first doses. Those being picked for the first dose of coronavirus vaccine include healthcare professionals, frontline workers and elderly people with comorbidities. The plan aims to cover over 23 percent of the population in the first phase.
Around 30 crore priority beneficiaries will receive 60 crore vaccine doses during the initial phase. The draft list prepared by the national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 has four categories which include 70-75 lakh healthcare professionals, 26 crore people aged over 50 years, set of people aged below 50 but with co-morbidities and two crore frontline workers, including police, municipal workers, armed forces, reported Times of India.
Headed by Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul and co-chaired by health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, the team has studied allocations for early-phase vaccinations proposed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).
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.
As per the draft plan, 70 lakh healthcare workforce from public and private sector will be administered COVID-19 vaccine. This includes 11 lakh MBBS doctors, 8 lakh Ayush practitioners, 15 lakh nurses, 7 lakh auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM), 10 lakh ASHA workers and 7-8 lakh allied professionals like sanitation workers, ambulance drivers and hospital security.
The process of identifying priority beneficiaries is on and the final list will be ready by October-end or early November, an official told the newspaper.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has on multiple occasions said that COVID-19 vaccine is expected by March 2021. Last month, during an interaction with social media followers, Vardhan said that while the precise date is not known yet, COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be ready by the first quarter of 2021.
Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, has said that India is likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine by March 2021.
SII's executive director Dr Suresh Jadhav said that the institute will be ready with around 60-70 million of COVID-19 vaccines before January 2021.
India's COVID-19 caseload has gone past 74 lakh, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease has crossed 65 lakh pushing the recovery rate to 87.78 percent.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine