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COVID vaccine: India should get 500 million doses by July 2021 to vaccinate 25-30 crore people, says Harsh Vardhan

Harsh Vardhan said the government will prioritise vaccination based on age and medical condition.

November 19, 2020 / 04:50 PM IST
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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on November 19 said that while the government will not be able to provide vaccination against COVID-19 to the entire population of India together, by June or July 2021, "we should have 400-500 million doses".

"So we should be able to inoculate 25-30 crore people," Vardhan said. Earlier in October, the health minister had said that the government plans vaccinate 20-25 crore people by July 2021.

Vardhan also said that he is confident a vaccine will be ready in the next three to four months.

"I am confident that Covid-19 vaccine will be ready in the next three-four months... Tracking and tracing of the vaccine would be neck-deep once it’s available for the public. Hopefully, 2021 should be a better year for all of us," ANI quoted the health minister as saying.

Also Read: Coronavirus vaccine tracker November 19 | Check out the latest developments from around the world

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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Spelling out the prioritization details for the vaccine, Vardhan said the government will be "prioritising people according to their age and medical condition" and that preparations are being done with that in mind.

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These may include people who are above 50 years of age, Police, Armed Forces, those working in healthcare sectors, sanitation workers, and high-risk target groups, according to reports.

"We have a vaccine intelligence platform... We have been successful in rooting out polio, we will now modify the infrastructure for COVID-19," Vardhan said.

Follow Moneycontrol's COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker here.

Earlier reports had also suggested that as per a draft plan, 70 lakh healthcare workforce from the public and private sector will be administered the COVID-19 vaccine.

This includes 11 lakh MBBS doctors, 8 lakh Ayush practitioners, 15 lakh nurses, 7 lakh auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM), 10 lakh ASHA workers and 7-8 lakh allied professionals like sanitation workers, ambulance drivers and hospital security.

Also Read | Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 95% effective in final results, shows study

The government is estimating Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 crore as the outlay for vaccine distribution. Reports had earlier suggested that the vaccine might cost around $6-7 per person.

According to reports, a distribution plan for the vaccine might include SMSes, QR code certificates and setting up booths at schools. An expert group has discussed these features in its framework for immunising the country in 2021.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Nov 19, 2020 02:36 pm

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