During his meeting with chief ministers and representatives of various states to review India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on November 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a number of observations and put out more information about the country’s vaccination strategy.
Here are some of the key things PM Modi said about the vaccination process:
> PM Modi said that the distribution strategy for COVID-19 vaccines will be chalked out in 'collective coordination' with the states.
> He said states should have a Steering Committee on vaccines and that distribution should be done according to scientific parameters. The prime minister also urged states to focus on adding more cold storage facilities.
> PM Modi said that the development of potential vaccines was being monitored closely and that the Centre was in touch with global regulators, companies and other governments.
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 Government of India is keeping a track of each development in vaccine development. We are in touch with Indian vaccine developers and manufacturers. We are also in touch with global regulators, governments of other countries, multinational organisations and international companies,” PM Modi said.
COVID-19 Vaccine Watch: What you need to know about manufacturing and pricing
> The prime minister said that it is still not clear whether there will be one, two or three doses of a vaccine given to the masses. The pricing of the vaccine has also not been decided yet, he said. “We still don't have answers to these questions,” PM Modi added.
As of November 24, India’s COVID-19 tally stood at 91.7 lakh. Of these, 86 lakh patients had recovered. While there were 4.3 lakh ‘active’ cases, the country’s death toll from the outbreak had risen to 1.3 lakh.
While India has reported less than 50,000 daily COVID-19 cases for some time now, some states are showing resurgence in the number of infections.
The prime minister added that while the country has been able to leave behind the worst phase of COVID-19, a rising number of cases remains a cause of concern in some states.Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic