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COVID-19 Vaccine | No vaccination for 18-44 group without 30 lakh vials, says Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope

Tope said Maharashtra has capacity to inoculate eight lakh people daily if adequate vaccines are provided to the state.

April 30, 2021 / 11:26 AM IST
File image: A healthcare worker holding a rose receives an AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD vaccine, during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, at a medical centre in Mumbai, India on January 16, 2021. (Image: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas)

File image: A healthcare worker holding a rose receives an AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD vaccine, during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, at a medical centre in Mumbai, India on January 16, 2021. (Image: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas)

Unless Maharashtra gets 25 to 30 lakh vaccine vials, it will not commence inoculation drive against COVID-19 for people in the 18-44 age group, health minister Rajesh Tope said on April 29.

The nationwide vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group is scheduled to start from May 1 and registration for the same is open on the CoWin app.

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Speaking to reporters Tope said, “Unless Maharashtra gets between 25 lakh and 30 lakh vials, we will not commence vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group. Stock should be sufficient for at least five days to start the vaccination drive."

Tope has been complaining about a shortage of Covishield and Covaxin, the vaccines being used in the ongoing drive for people aged 45 and above.

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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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On several occasions, the state had to suspend vaccination due to a shortage of doses.

Also Read | List of states that will not begin vaccination drive for 18-44 age group from May 1

“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has clearly informed us (the state cabinet) as well as the vaccine makers that he is willing to pay the entire purchase amount of vaccine doses with just one cheque. But he needs assurances of smooth and uninterrupted supply of vaccines to the state, he said.

Tope said Maharashtra has capacity to inoculate eight lakh people daily if adequate vaccines are provided to the state.

“Maharashtra’s wastage of COVID-19 vaccine is as low as 1 per cent. This is due to the careful management of distributors and our staff on the ground. We will be giving out vaccines mainly to government hospitals from May 1 for inoculation of people in the above 45 age category,” he added.

Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here
PTI
first published: Apr 30, 2021 11:26 am

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