More than 86.16 lakh vaccine doses, the highest ever single-day vaccination in the world so far, were administered across the country on June 21 as the revised guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination came into effect, the Union Health Ministry said. With that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 28.87 crore.
On the 157th day of the vaccination drive on June 21, 78.37 lakh beneficiaries received their first shot and 7.79 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:
> Madhya Pradesh set a new record for itself by vaccinating more than 16 lakh people against COVID-19 on June 21 as part of a mega inoculation campaign launched to coincide with International Yoga Day, with officials saying the target set was 10 lakh.
> Assam crossed its target of vaccinating three lakh people daily by reaching out to 3,19,340 eligible beneficiaries above the age of 18 on the first day of the enhanced 'Free Vaccination For All Campaign' on the day.
> The number of anti-coronavirus vaccinations done in Gautam Buddh Nagar has crossed the 10-lakh mark, with the district staying on the second spot in Uttar Pradesh in inoculation, official data showed on the day. According to statistics available on Cowin portal, over 19,000 vaccinations were done on the day at 120 sites, including 77 government and 43 private facilities.
> West Delhi Lok Sabha MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma announced on the day to "set aside Rs 1 crore" for any village or colony in his constituency that first completes 100 percent vaccination.
> The Union health ministry reiterated on the day that there is no scientific evidence of COVID-19 vaccination causing infertility in men and women and asserted the jabs are safe and effective. There have been media reports expressing concern regarding infertility due to COVID-19 vaccination among people of reproductive age, the ministry said in a statement.
> Union Minister Jitendra Singh called on the day for expanding the drive-in vaccination facility in Jammu and Kashmir, saying this has been very successfully tried with encouraging results in several districts of the country.
> Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif said on the day that there will be no elections to local bodies in the state till 70 per cent population is vaccinated against COVID-19.
> Actor Kunal Kemmu received his jab of the coronavirus vaccine on the day. Kemmu took to Instagram and posted a picture of himself getting vaccinated.Here's the vaccination count for some states:
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic