As many as 21.93 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in India on April 28, according to the Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report.
With that, more than 15 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far. On April 28, 21.82 lakh beneficiaries received their first shot and 9.11 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.
Everyone above 18 years of age will be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 from May 1, the central government announced on April 19 as it 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 will begin on April 28.
Here are key developments related to the COVID-19 vaccination process:
> Maharashtra has decided to vaccinate citizens in the age group of 18 to 44 against COVID-19 free of cost in government hospitals said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on April 28, even as a minister said the vaccination drive of this age group cannot be launched from May 1 due to unavailability of enough doses. Thackeray made the announcement about free vaccines after chairing a cabinet meeting in Mumbai on the day.
> Serum Institute of India (SII) -- the maker of a COVID-19 vaccine in the country – announced on the day a cut in price of the jab it plans to sell to states to Rs 300 per dose from the earlier Rs 400. This follows widespread criticism of its pricing policy as it has sold the initial doses of Covishield to the central government at Rs 150 per dose.
> The Kerala government has decided to procure one crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the third phase of vaccination drive from May 1,for those above18 years of age. A decision in this regard was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired online by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the day.
> Rajasthan will require seven crore COVID-19 vaccines to administer 3.25 crore people aged 18 years and above, Health Minister Raghu Sharma said on the day. He said that apart from vaccines, the state would require 365 metric tonnes of medical oxygen per day and 10,000 Remdesivir injections daily.
> Sri Lanka began administering the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on the day after assurances from Serum Institute of India that it would send more consignments of the vaccine soon. Frontline workers were the first ones to receive the second dose of the vaccine, said State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Sudarshani Fernandopulle.Here are the vaccination counts:
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic