A total of 23,58,731 beneficiaries were vaccinated against the novel coronavirus in India on March 25, Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report has said, even as infections continue to spike in the country.
More than 5.55 crore beneficiaries have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the country so far. On March 25, 21,54,934 beneficiaries were given the first shot, while 2,03,797 healthcare and frontline workers received their second dose, the report said.
The second dose is started for beneficiaries 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.
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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 has begun the second phase of the vaccination drive in which everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities will be able to get the vaccine.
India’s drug regulator has approved two vaccines—Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield that is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII)—for emergency use in the country.
Here are all developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine in India:
> The Mumbai civic body had completed administering 10 lakh doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and the aim now was to increase the target to one lakh per day, it said on March 25.
> The Odisha government asked the district and municipal authorities to prepare for inoculation of all people above the age of 45 years from April 1. The state has so far vaccinated over 20 lakh people under different categories like health care workers, frontline workers, those above 60 years of age and persons with comorbidities in the age group of 45 to 59 years. In the next phase, people born before January 1977 will be given vaccines even without having comorbidities, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, PK Mohapatra said in a letter to district collectors, municipal commissioners and other officers concerned.
> India has not imposed any ban on export of coronavirus vaccines and it will continue to supply them to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner, reported news agency PTI citing sources on the day. They said given India's manufacturing capacity and requirements of national vaccination programmes, there may be a need to calibrate the supply schedules from time-to-time.
> SBI General Insurance said on the day that it will cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccination for sections of low-income groups in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as part of its CSR activity. Through this programme, SBI General will cover the cost of two shots of COVID-19 vaccination for low-income groups in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, it said.
> A top American lawmaker has praised India for sending COVID-19 vaccines to African countries, asserting it has shown good faith in humanity. India has made vaccines available to 30 other countries in Africa, Congresswoman Karen Bass said on India's vaccine delivery efforts in Africa during a markup of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the day.
Here is the state-wise vaccination count:
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