As many as 14.84 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in India on May 4, according to the Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report.
With that, more than 16 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far. On May 4, 7.80 lakh beneficiaries received their first shot and 7.04 lakh people were given their second dose. This included healthcare and frontline workers, people aged over 60 and beneficiaries above the age of 45 with or without comorbidities.
The government had earlier revised the gap between the two doses for the Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, to six-eight 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.
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.
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.
From April 1, vaccination was opened for everyone above the age of 45 with or without comorbidities.
The country rolled out the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the 18-45 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.
Here are key developments related to the COVID-19 vaccination process:
> As many as 417 persons were administered COVID-19 vaccine jabs at a drive-in inoculation center set up by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on the first day, a civic official said on May 4. The civic body on the day launched the city's first drive-in vaccination center where specially-abled people and senior citizens can get vaccine doses while sitting in a vehicle, without standing in a queue. The facility has been set up in a parking lot at Kohinoor Tower in Dadar area for inoculating those above the age of 45 years.
> India and the UK agreed on the day to "expand and enhance" their existing partnership on vaccines, besides vowing to work together to reform and strengthen the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global health security architecture to strengthen pandemic resilience. The decision was taken at a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.
> Amid depletion of vaccine stock, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on the day sought an increase in the state's allocation of coronavirus vaccine. He said the state's stock of vaccines stood "depleted" at less than 50,000 doses.
> Several private hospitals in Pune are awaiting clear guidelines from the government over procurement of vaccine doses and conducting the vaccination drive which remains suspended due to unavailability of doses.
> Over 81,000 personnel of the Rajasthan Police have been administered the first dose of coronavirus vaccine so far under the ongoing vaccination drive in the state, a senior officer said on the day. So far, 81,103 officers and jawans have been given the first dose of corona vaccine and 60,821 personnel have received the second dose, Director General of Police ML Lather said.
> The Maharashtra Congress on the day said the COVID-19 vaccine wastage in the state was only 0.22 percent and not six percent as claimed by Union minister Prakash Javadekar. The Congress also said that only 23,547 vaccine doses were left in Maharashtra and asked how the state can plan vaccination of people if it does not have the adequate number of doses.Here are the vaccination counts:
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic