As many as 19,40,999 doses of coronavirus vaccines were administered in India on March 30, Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report has said, even as infections continue to spike in the country.
With this, more than 6.3 crore beneficiaries have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the country so far. On March 30, 17,77,637 beneficiaries were given the first shot, while 1,63,362 people received their second doses, the report said. It included healthcare workers, frontline workers, people aged above 60 years and beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 years with specific co-morbidities.
The second dose is being given to those who have completed 28 days after receiving the first shot. The emergency use approval granted by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) allows four-six weeks for the second dose to be administered.
The government recently revised the gap for the Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, to six-eight weeks but the interval for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin remains unchanged.
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.
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 can get the vaccine. From April 1, vaccination will be open to everyone above the age of 45.
Here are all developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine in India:
> Over 38,000 beneficiaries in Delhi received COVID-19 vaccine shots by 6 pm on March 30 and none of them have reported adverse events so far, officials said. In the age bracket of 45-59 years, 5,393 beneficiaries received the shots, while 22,920 senior citizens got their first jabs by 6 pm, an official said. The second dose of the vaccine was given to 6,702 people, he said, adding that 2,306 frontline workers and 1,539 healthcare workers got their first shots. A total of 38,860 people were vaccinated across the city and no case of AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) was recorded by 6 pm, officials said.
> The Bombay High Court decided on the day to conduct COVID-19 vaccination drive for its judges and their spouses above the age of 45 at the principal bench in Mumbai from April 2 to 4 in conjunction with the BMC. The drive would also extend to lawyers, their spouses and staff of lawyers above the age of 45.
> Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who along with his wife took the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on the day, said cases of individuals reporting coronavirus infection post vaccination are extremely rare" and the disease among them would be very mild and not progress to an advanced stage". Vardhan and his wife Nutan Goel were administered the second dose of the vaccine at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. They had taken the first dose of the indigenously developed Covaxin' by Bharat Biotech, on March 2.
> Germany's vaccine committee, known as STIKO, recommended on the day that using AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine only for people aged 60 and over following further reports of a rare brain blood disorder. "After several consultations, STIKO, with the help of external experts, decided by a majority to recommend the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine only for persons aged 60 years and older on the basis of available data on the occurrence of rare but very severe thromboembolic side effects," it said in a statement.
> Online grocery platform Grofers said on the day that it will cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccination for its employees, their family members as well as the company's contractual staff. The company aims to cover vaccination cost for 25,000 people across 38 cities, it added.Here is the state-wise vaccination count:
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic