A total of 26,05,333 beneficiaries were vaccinated against the novel coronavirus in India on March 26, Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report has said, even as infections continue to spike in the country.
More than 5.81 crore beneficiaries have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the country so far. On March 26, 24,25,146 beneficiaries were given the first shot, while 1,80,187 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.
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 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said on March 26 that it had vaccinated over 10 lakh people against COVID-19 since the immunisation drive began. In an official statement, the civic body said it has so far inoculated 10,08,323 people in the city. There are 106 centres in Mumbai, of which 28 are run by the BMC and 12 by the state government, it was stated. Apart from this, 66 private booths are set up by private hospitals to administer the vaccine.
> The Odisha government has expressed displeasure over the "insufficient and erratic" supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the state. In a letter to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a top official said there should not be any discrimination between states in vaccine supply.
> Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on the day that both Covaxin and Covishied are completely safe and immunogenic and as of now, there are no concerns about the safety of these vaccines being used in the country. He said this at the India Economic Conclave while responding to the growing concerns surrounding Covishield after reports emerged of the vaccine causing blood clots. Such cases are being examined by the respective governments of the countries where those have emerged. In India, all cases of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) are monitored through a well-structured and robust surveillance system, Vardhan said.
> The World Health Organization urged countries to donate COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate the most vulnerable in 20 poorer nations on the day after India, a key supplier to the agency's COVAX vaccine-sharing programme, said it was prioritising local needs. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the COVAX programme, run with the GAVI vaccine alliance, needed 10 million doses immediately to inoculate healthcare workers and older people as a stop-gap measure.
> TechInvention Lifecare has tied up with South Korea-based biopharmaceutical firm Eubiologics Co Ltd for bringing in oral cholera vaccine 'Euvichol-Plus' to India. The vaccine is prequalified by the WHO, TechInvention Lifecare Pvt Ltd said in a statement. Eubiologics has so far supplied 55 million doses to UN healthcare agencies. Euvichol-Plus has been supplied to around 22 countries across the globe, it added.Here is the state-wise vaccination count:
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic