At least 1,42,42,547 beneficiaries have been vaccinated for COVID-19 through 2,92,312 sessions in India, a provisional report of the Union Health Ministry has said, as the country gears up to inoculate people above 60 years of age and those over 45 with comorbidities against COVID-19 from March 1 in the second phase of the vaccination drive.
The beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after the first jab are now being given the second dose as well. The DCGI accorded a window of four weeks to six weeks for the second dose.
The total COVID-19 vaccine beneficiaries include 66,68,974 healthcare workers (first dose), 24,53,878 healthcare workers (second dose) and 51,19,695 frontline workers (first dose).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the vaccination drive with healthcare workers getting their first jabs on January 16.
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.
India’s drug regulator has approved two vaccines—Covaxin developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Covishield from the Oxford-AstraZeneca stable being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) —for emergency use in the country.
According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers and around two crore frontline workers and then to persons above 50 years of age followed by persons younger than 50 with associated comorbidities.
Here are all developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine in India:
> Eligible aspirants for COVID-19 vaccination will be administered the shots at government-run hospitals in Goa during the second phase of the drive beginning March 1, a senior officer has said. State Immunisation Officer Dr Rajendra Borkar told reporters that aspirants will have to carry Aadhaar card or any other government proof of identity for vaccination at their nearest government hospital.
> The Delhi government has started preparations for the vaccination of people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities from March 1 and has identified private hospitals that will be roped in for the immunisation drive, sources said.
> Private hospitals can charge up to Rs 250 per dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday as India prepares to vaccinate people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities from March 1.
> The US is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the US and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways.
> The first phase of COVID-19 vaccination programme in South Africa is ahead of schedule, health authorities has said after the second batch of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccines landed in the country. In the first week of the Sisonke' campaign to vaccinate healthcare workers as a priority, 6,648 patient-facing healthcare workers in the public and private sector were vaccinated, the Department of Health said in a statement.Here is the state-wise vaccination in the country:
(With inputs from PTI)Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.