Corona frontline workers or corona warriors, such as doctors and healthcare workers, along with vulnerable sections of the population will be among the first people to get access to the COVID-19 vaccine, whenever it is available. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on June 30 to review the planning and preparation for vaccination across the country.
Nations across the world are conducting research to develop a vaccine that would prevent contraction of the novel coronavirus disease that has killed half a million people across the globe.
The four-point action plan on how to distribute the vaccine after it is available was finalised by PM Modi at the meeting. It includes managing medical supply chains, prioritising the vulnerable, coordination between multiple agencies, and the important role played by the civil society and the private sector.
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.
Notably, the government has decided to go with the “anyone anywhere” vaccination module, meaning there would not be any domicile-related restriction on getting vaccinated. The vaccine will also be made universal and affordable, and authorities will be monitoring the production of the vaccine in real-time.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here