Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India's commitment towards the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution to other countries as well.
Thanking the PM for supporting vaccine equity, Ghebreyesus said "your commitment to COVAX & sharing COVID19 vaccine doses is helping 60 plus countries start vaccinating their health workers and other priority groups. Hope other countries will follow your example", as quoted by ANI.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of External Affairs informed that India provided 56 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccines under grants assistance to a number of countries while 100 lakh doses were sent under commercial supplies.
"We have so far supplied vaccines to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Brazil, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait and South Africa," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing.
Within the country itself, India's first phase of vaccination healthcare and frontline workers will end on March 1. The second phase will then begin, where people above the age of 60 and people above 45 with comorbidities can get vaccinated. The country currently has two vaccines being administered- Serum Institutes' Covishield and Bharath Biotech's Covaxin.
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.