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From factory to faraway village: Behind India's mammoth coronavirus vaccination drive

India has billed its coronavirus vaccine rollout as the world's biggest, but it must overcome logistics, hostile terrain, high temperatures and vaccine hesitancy to protect some 270 million people deemed vulnerable.

January 26, 2021 / 03:59 PM IST
India has billed its coronavirus vaccine rollout as the world's biggest, but it must overcome logistics, hostile terrain, high temperatures and vaccine hesitancy to protect some 270 million people deemed vulnerable. (Image: Reuters)
India has billed its coronavirus vaccine rollout as the world's biggest, but it must overcome logistics, hostile terrain, high temperatures and vaccine hesitancy to protect some 270 million people deemed vulnerable. (Image: Reuters)
Reena Jani, 34, a health worker, receives the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca at Mathalput Community Health Centre, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 16. (Image: Reuters)
Reena Jani, 34, a health worker, receives the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca at Mathalput Community Health Centre, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 16. (Image: Reuters)
Reena Jani, 34, a health worker, arrives at Mathalput Community Health Centre on her neighbour's motorcycle, to receive the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 16. (Image: Reuters)
Reena Jani, 34, a health worker, arrives at Mathalput Community Health Centre on her neighbour's motorcycle, to receive the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 16. (Image: Reuters)
Jani's name was on a list of 100 health workers at Mathalput Community Health Centre, making her one of the first Indians to be inoculated against COVID-19 earlier this month, as the country rolls out a vaccination programme the government calls the world’s biggest. But she had heard rumours of serious side effects and worried about what would happen were she to get ill. "I was frightened because of my son and daughters. If something happens to me, what will they do?" Jani said. (Image: Reuters)
Jani's name was on a list of 100 health workers at Mathalput Community Health Centre, making her one of the first Indians to be inoculated against COVID-19 earlier this month, as the country rolls out a vaccination programme the government calls the world’s biggest. But she had heard rumours of serious side effects and worried about what would happen were she to get ill. "I was frightened because of my son and daughters. If something happens to me, what will they do?" Jani said. (Image: Reuters)
Jani became an accredited social health activist (ASHA) community health worker, a lynchpin of India's rural healthcare system, around seven years ago. She helps to monitor pregnant women in her village of 500 people, and helps with malaria tests and doles out basic medication for fever and diarrhoea. (Image: Reuters)
Jani became an accredited social health activist (ASHA) community health worker, a lynchpin of India's rural healthcare system, around seven years ago. She helps to monitor pregnant women in her village of 500 people, and helps with malaria tests and doles out basic medication for fever and diarrhoea. (Image: Reuters)
The main breadwinner for her family of five, Jani draws a monthly salary of 3,000 rupees ($41), helping put her two daughters and one son through school. When she first learned she was to be vaccinated, Jani said she wasn't worried. Then she heard a rumour. "Someone told me that people are fainting, they are developing fever and some are dying after taking the injection," she said. "That is why I was frightened." (Image: Reuters)
The main breadwinner for her family of five, Jani draws a monthly salary of 3,000 rupees ($41), helping put her two daughters and one son through school. When she first learned she was to be vaccinated, Jani said she wasn't worried. Then she heard a rumour. "Someone told me that people are fainting, they are developing fever and some are dying after taking the injection," she said. "That is why I was frightened." (Image: Reuters)
A van delivers the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca at Mathalput Community Health Centre, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 15.
A van delivers the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca at Mathalput Community Health Centre, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 15. (Image: Reuters)
Health workers pack up the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca before they are transported to various vaccination centres from a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 15. (Image: Reuters)
Health workers pack up the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca before they are transported to various vaccination centres from a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 15. (Image: Reuters)
A health department truck waits in a traffic jam as it transports the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca from the state vaccine store to a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Ganjam, January 13. (Image: Reuters)
A health department truck waits in a traffic jam as it transports the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca from the state vaccine store to a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Ganjam, January 13. (Image: Reuters)
Lalu Porija, a health department driver, transports the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca from the state store to a regional one, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, January 13. "I am feeling a little tired," said Porija who negotiating cows, debris, thick fog and hairpin bends, and fighting fatigue, drove nearly 24 hours within three days to collect and deliver the vaccine shots to Koraput town. (Image: Reuters)
Lalu Porija, a health department driver, transports the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca from the state store to a regional one, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, January 13. "I am feeling a little tired," said Porija who negotiating cows, debris, thick fog and hairpin bends, and fighting fatigue, drove nearly 24 hours within three days to collect and deliver the vaccine shots to Koraput town. (Image: Reuters)
A health department employee counts vials of the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca as she prepares to pack them up before they are transported from the state storage to a regional one, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Bhubaneswar, January 13. (Image: Reuters)
A health department employee counts vials of the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca as she prepares to pack them up before they are transported from the state storage to a regional one, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Bhubaneswar, January 13. (Image: Reuters)
Healthcare workers at the state store pack the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca into a box before being transported to a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Bhubaneswar, January 13. (Image: Reuters)
Healthcare workers at the state store pack the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca into a box before being transported to a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Bhubaneswar, January 13. (Image: Reuters)
Healthcare workers carry a box containing the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca to a truck to be transported from the state vaccine store to a regional one, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Bhubaneswar, January 13. (Image: Reuters)
Healthcare workers carry a box containing the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca to a truck to be transported from the state vaccine store to a regional one, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Bhubaneswar, January 13. (Image: Reuters)
A health department driver washes a vaccine van before transporting the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca to various vaccination centres from a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 14. (Image: Reuters)
A health department driver washes a vaccine van before transporting the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca to various vaccination centres from a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 14. (Image: Reuters)
Health workers store the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca inside a refrigerator at Mathalput Community Health Centre, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 15. (Image: Reuters)
Health workers store the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca inside a refrigerator at Mathalput Community Health Centre, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 15. (Image: Reuters)
A vaccine van transports the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca to various vaccination centres from a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 15. (Image: Reuters)
A vaccine van transports the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca to various vaccination centres from a regional vaccine store, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Koraput, January 15. (Image: Reuters)
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