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Maharashtra govt allows all fully-vaccinated people to board Mumbai local trains

In this order, the state government has extended the definition of fully vaccinated people to cover even those people who are working in non-essential sectors.

October 26, 2021 / 02:45 PM IST
Local trains in Mumbai (File image: Reuters)

Local trains in Mumbai (File image: Reuters)

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday issued an order allowing the common people, irrespective of the nature of their jobs, who are vaccinated fully against COVID-19 to board suburban trains in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

In this order, the state government has extended the definition of fully vaccinated people to cover even those people who are working in non-essential sectors.

This means people who have taken both the doses of vaccines against COVID-19 and completed 14 days after inoculation can travel in local trains.

The government also stated that the people working in essential sectors must be fully vaccinated and should have completed the 14 days post-inoculation before they can be allowed to board local trains.

Currently, the Central Railway and the Western Railway have been issuing a monthly pass to vaccinated commuters instead of daily tickets to curtail the crowd.

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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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Notably, both the railways on Monday said suburban services in Mumbai will be operated at the 100 per cent capacity of the pre-pandemic level from October 28, but the existing travel restrictions for the general public will remain unchanged.

This decision was taken considering the increased flow of commuters, an official said on Monday. Central Railway and Western Railway will run 1,774 and 1,367 services, respectively, on their suburban network from October 28.

The zonal railways used to operate these many services before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Central Railway and Western Railway are operating 1,702 and 1,304 suburban services, respectively, which is 95.70 per cent of the total suburban services in the normal period.

Currently, Central Railway and Western Railway are operating 1,702 and 1,304 suburban services, respectively, which is 95.70 per cent of the total suburban services in the normal period.

Till now, only government employees and essential services staffers are allowed to travel on suburban trains, apart from the fully-vaccinated citizens, who have completed the 14 days after the second dose and those who are below 18 years.

After the outbreak of the pandemic, the suburban services were completely stopped from March 22, 2020. Later railways began suburban services for essential service categories as identified by the Maharashtra government and approved by the Ministry of Railways from June 15, 2020.

Suburban locals are considered the lifeline of Mumbai. Nearly 80 lakh passengers used to travel on the suburban locals before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 graph is also slowing down in Maharashtra. The state on Monday reported 889 COVID-19 cases, the lowest number in a day since May 5, 2020, and 12 fresh fatalities, the least number of one-day death count in more than 18 months, a health department official had said.

(With PTI inputs)
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