Even as new COVID-19 infections have shown a declining trend, credit rating agency Crisil on Monday said it is “too early” to say that the second wave of the pandemic has peaked and flagged concerns over the vaccination drive.
After opening up the vaccination for all adults, the drive has suffered because availability of vaccines has become a “national bottleneck”, the rating agency said in a report.
It said new cases touched 4.14 lakh on May 6, and have now declined to an average of 3.6 lakh a day for the week ended May 16.
The decline in new cases offers some respite, but, “it's too early to call a peak”, the report noted.
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.
It also acknowledged that the new cases have fallen without a dip in testing numbers.
“India's COVID-19 affliction curve has turned for the first time since the second wave began, with daily cases in the week ended May 16 falling 15 per cent sequentially,” it said.
“While vaccination was opened to all adults two weeks back to battle the fierce second wave, vaccine availability has become a national bottleneck,” it said.
As a result of this, some states have announced a temporary halt to their vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group and prioritised those in the 45 plus bracket, especially the second doses, it added.
On the economic front, the agency said high-frequency indicators have continued to soften and the mobility indicators, in particular, have fallen to June 2020 level.
Meanwhile, in a note, American brokerage Morgan Stanley said the COVID-19 flare-ups in India are a temporary “speed bump, not a permanent roadblock”.
The brokerage said it expects the Reserve Bank to cut rates by 25 basis points in December quarter.
Even if the pace of vaccination in India is slower than developed markets, it would nudge Asia towards recovery, it said.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.