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Third wave late, have 6-8 months to vaccinate all, says COVID working group chief

Vaccination of children aged above 12 may also begin in a couple of months as the Zydus Cadila vaccine trial is almost complete, Dr NK Arora, the chief of government's Covid expert panel, has said,

June 27, 2021 / 05:32 PM IST
COVID-19 vaccination in a village (Representative image: AP)

COVID-19 vaccination in a village (Representative image: AP)

The chief of the government’s Covid panel has said that the coronavirus wave is likely to hit India late, offering a six to eight-month window to vaccinate all eligible beneficiaries in the country.

Dr NK Arora, the chairman of Centre's COVID-19 working group, was referring to a recent study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that says there would be a considerable delay in the onset of a third wave of the pandemic in India.

"ICMR has come up with a study, which says the third wave is likely to come late. We have a window period of six-eight months to immunise everybody in country. In coming days, our target is to administer 1 crore doses every day," news agency ANI quoted Dr Arora as saying on June 27.

The government's expert panel chief further indicated that the immunisation of children aged above 12 may begin in a couple of months.

"Trial for Zydus Cadila vaccine is almost complete. By July-end or in August, we might be able to start administering this vaccine to children of 12-18 age group," Dr Arora said.

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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Also Read: Efforts on to vaccinate all adults by Dec 31, digital divide won't affect drive, Centre tells SC

A day earlier, the Centre submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court, saying it's efforts was to vaccinate all adults by December 31, 2021.

To achieve the target, around 186-188 crore doses were needed. India has around 93-94 crore people who are aged above 18.

A total of 51.6 crore doses should be "made available" by July 31. The remaining jabs, around 135 crore, would be procured between August and December, the government said.

Providing a break-up, the Centre's affidavit said 50 crore doses of Covishield and 40 crore doses of Covaxin would be procured along with 30 crore doses of BioE's vaccine, 10 crore Sputnik V and five crore Zydus Cadila's DNA jab.

Bio E and Zydus Cadila's vaccines have not got the approval so far.

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