More than 36.51 lakh vaccine doses were administered in India on June 29, the Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report suggested. With that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 33.28 crore.
On the 165th day of the vaccination drive on June 29, 27.42 lakh beneficiaries received their first shot and 9.09 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. However, later it announced to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to everyone above the age of 18 years from June 21. The new COVID-19 vaccination policy is a significant shift from the government's 'liberalised and accelerated' policy, announced earlier.
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:
- About 49 percent of the population aged 60 years and above has been vaccinated with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, government said on June 29. Out of estimated 59.7 crore people in the age group of 18-44 years, about 15 per cent have been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine, it said.
- External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar took up the issue of inclusion of Covishield in the EU COVID-19 Vaccination Passport with a top European Union official on the day and promised to follow up the matter. Only four vaccines -- Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford and, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen -- have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Only those inoculated with these vaccines will be given vaccination passports and allowed to travel within the EU during the pandemic.
- More than 11,000 people categorised as 'super-spreaders' have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Gujarat's Ahmedabad city so far in a special drive started recently for their inoculation, local civic body said on the day. 'Super-spreaders' are those who transmit an infectious disease to a large number of other people due to the nature of their job.
- Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan said on the day that all students studying in various higher education courses will be vaccinated within 10 days. This includes students of polytechnics, ITI, degree, engineering, medical, paramedical, diploma, those studying in university campuses and students registered under Chief Minister's skill development scheme, the DCM was quoted as saying by his office in a release.
- Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has said that 73 gram panchayats in the North Eastern border state have achieved 100 percent vaccination.
- Over two crore people have so far received vaccine against COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh, an official release quoting the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on the day. The target to vaccinate 50 lakh people in the state till June 30 has already been achieved, it said.Here's the vaccination count for some states:
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic