More than 30.35 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in India on May 29, the Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report suggested. With that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country reached 21.2 crore.
On the 134th day of the vaccination drive (May 29), 27.17 lakh beneficiaries received their first shot and 3.18 lakh people were given their second dose.
The government has revised the gap between the two doses for the Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, to 12-16 weeks. However, the interval for the second dose of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin remains unchanged.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the nationwide vaccination drive on January 16, with healthcare workers at the frontline of India's COVID-19 battle getting their first jabs. The country began the second phase of the vaccination drive from March 1 in which everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities could start getting the vaccine.
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.
From April 1, vaccination was opened for everyone above the age of 45 with or without comorbidities.
India rolled out the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the 18-44 age group on May 1. The central government has liberalised the vaccination drive to allow states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from manufacturers.
Registration on CoWIN platform for the third phase began on April 28 and is mandatory for the 18-44 age group.
Here are key developments related to the COVID-19 vaccination process:
> The Pune Municipal Corporation will start a special COVID-19 vaccination drive for students who have to travel abroad for educational purposes, Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said on May 29.
> More than 1.82 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are available with states and union territories, and over 4 lakh will be received by them within the next three days, the Union health ministry said on the day. The central government has so far provided, through the free of cost category and direct state procurement category, more than 22.77 crore vaccine doses to states and UTs.
> Delhi will receive 5.5 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses for the 18-44 age group from the Centre in June, but not before June 10, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on the day as he accused the central government of being stubborn on the issue of vaccine distribution.
> A total of five lakh anti- coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered to the people in Goa so far, with the state government saying that the 'Tika Utsav' has helped it in reaching out to the beneficiaries, especially in the rural parts.
> The Centre has asked states and union territories to initiate legal or administrative action against institutions which are giving package for Covid vaccination in collaboration with hotels in violation of prescribed guidelines. In a letter to all states and UTs, Additional Secretary to Health ministry Manohar Agnani said it has come to the notice of the Union health ministry that some private hospitals are giving package for Covid vaccination in collaboration with some hotels, which is against the guidelines issued for the National Covid Vaccination Program.
> Calling COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines as one of the most important aspects of his discussions with top officials of the Biden administration, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said the endeavour is to expand production of vaccines in India with assistance from the United States.Here's the vaccination count for some states:
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic