India dispatched approximately 6.4 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses to foreign countries from January 12 to July 22, the government informed Parliament on Thursday.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said, "During the period January 12 to July 22, approximately 42.2 crore doses have been transported.
"Out of these, approximately 35.8 crore doses have been handled at domestic airports and approximately 6.4 crore doses have been dispatched to international destinations."
The cumulative number of COVID vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 45 crore, including more than 15.38 crore jabs given to beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.
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.