As many as 25.56 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in India on April 27, according to the Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report.
With that, more than 14.78 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far. On April 27, 15.69 lakh beneficiaries received their first shot and 9.87 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:
> More than one crore vaccine doses are still available with states and union territories, and another 80 lakh doses will reach them in the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on April 27.
> The Supreme Court took note of different prices of COVID-19 vaccines for Centre, states and the private hospitals and asked the central government to explain to it the rationale and basis behind such a pricing policy. The top court, hearing a suo motu case related to 'distribution of essential supplies and services during pandemic', also asked the Centre as to how it was going to meet the sudden surge in demand of vaccines.
> Dr Reddy's Laboratories, which has received approval from the Indian drug regulator for restricted emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, said it expects to receive the first lot of stock by May-end. In September 2020, Dr Reddy’s had created a partnership to conduct clinical trials of SputnikV, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the rights for distribution of the first 100 million doses in India.
> The Kerala High Court issued notice to the central government on two pleas, challenging its "discriminatory COVID-19 vaccination policy". MK Muneer, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala assembly, in his plea, alleged that 'Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy' issued by the Centre was violative of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
> The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi will help manufacture the Moderna coronavirus vaccine from September, joining other companies assisting with production of one of the three vaccines now approved in the US. Under the agreement, Sanofi will handle final manufacturing steps, including filling, inspecting and labeling vaccine vials and packaging them. The deal involves up to 200 million doses of Moderna's two-shot vaccine.Here's the vaccination count in some states:
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic