More than 73.85 lakh vaccine doses were administered in India on August 28, the Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report suggested. With that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 63.09 crore.
The country took 85 days to touch the figure of 10 crore. It then took 45 days to cross the 20-crore mark and 29 more days to reach 30 crore. India took another 24 days to reach 40 crore and 20 more days to cross 50 crore vaccinations, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said.
The government has revised the gap between the two doses for the Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), to 12-16 weeks. However, the interval for the second dose of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin remains unchanged, i.e. four weeks.
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 could start getting the vaccine.
From April 1, vaccination was opened for everyone aged 45 and above with or without comorbidities.
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.
India rolled out the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the 18-44 age group on May 1.
The central government has 'liberalised' the vaccination drive to allow states, private hospitals, and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from manufacturers. However, later it announced to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to everyone above the age of 18 years from June 21. The new COVID-19 vaccination policy is a significant shift from the government's 'liberalised and accelerated' policy, announced earlier.
Registration on CoWIN platform for the third phase began on April 28 and is mandatory for the 18-44 age group.
Here are key developments related to the COVID-19 vaccination process:
- PM Modi motivated scientists and doctors to conduct medical research which led to the development of an anti-coronavirus vaccine in India, Union minister Virendra Kumar Khatik said on August 28. It is for the first time that we need not have to depend on any other country to procure vaccines to fight against a virus," the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister told reporters.
- Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on the day that the state no longer faces vaccine shortage, and as many as 61 lakh people have been inoculated so far in August, with the figure likely to go up to 70 lakh over the next three days. After the recent visit of Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to the state, the issue of vaccine shortage has been addressed, the chief minister said, flagging off 15 ambulances donated by an automotive manufacturer in Guwahati.
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah has urged officials in Ahmedabad district to carry out the vaccination drive against coronavirus at a fast pace to achieve the target of administering the first dose to every eligible person by September 30. Shah, on a three-day visit to Gujarat, chaired a meeting of the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA) at the Ahmedabad District Collectorate.
- Vaccination and ration distribution centres set up in schools in the national capital will still be operational after they reopen for classes 9 to 12 from September 1, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on the day.
(With inputs from PTI)Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic