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Maharashtra to have separate COVID-19 task force for children

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too said that the third wave, as per experts, could be dangerous for children, and therefore the government has decided to set up a task force of paediatric experts.

May 07, 2021 / 10:56 PM IST
Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

With the possibility of a third wave of COVID-19 pandemic looming, the Maharashtra government is setting up a paediatric task force to create infrastructure for the treatment of children, health minister Rajesh Tope said on Friday.

More than 1.30 lakh minors in the state have been infected by coronavirus during the second wave which began around February 15, as per official data. "A paediatric task force is being set up to tackle the third wave of COVID-19 where children could also get infected.

"We will need new designs for isolation or treatment centres because generally mother has to stay with the child," Tope told reporters.

The state is also facing a vaccine shortage and "we may have to rearrange the current vaccine distribution methods," he said.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too said that the third wave, as per experts, could be dangerous for children, and therefore the government has decided to set up a task force of paediatric experts.

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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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He was speaking after inaugurating a second oxygen plant at the district hospital in Sindhudurg virtually.

The chief minister also reiterated that Maharashtra has the capacity to inoculate 10 lakh persons daily but not enough vaccine doses.

There are six crore people in the age group of 18 to 44 years for whom the government needs 12 crore doses, and talks are on with vaccine manufacturers, Thackeray said.

"The possibility of getting the required quantity of vaccine doses is low, so we will need to upgrade our medical facilities to stop the third wave," the CM said.

People should not be complacent even if the pandemic is brought under control as the virus has become more infectious, he said.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
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