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Allow states to have own apps for COVID-19 vaccination: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray

"As we plan to open up vaccination for the 18 to 45 age group through the state's procurement, the CoWIN app is seeing a sudden surge in the number of citizens wanting to register nationally. There is fear about the app malfunctioning and crashing as it did on the first day of registration of the age group," CM Uddhav Thackeray said.

May 08, 2021 / 04:23 PM IST

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has urged the central government to allow states to develop their ownapplications for COVID-19 vaccination programme.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Thackeray said the vaccination drive in Maharashtra has been the "fastest and the most efficient in the country".

At present, people have to register their names on CoWIN platform introduced by the central government for the vaccination.

"As we plan to open up vaccination for the 18 to 45 age group through the state's procurement, the CoWIN app is seeing a sudden surge in the number of citizens wanting to register nationally. There is fear about the app malfunctioning and crashing as it did on the first day of registration of the age group," he said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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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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"We propose either a separate app developed by states, where the data can be shared with the Union government's ministry of health or a CoWIN app for each state, developed and assigned by the government of India," he said.

This would ensure better interface and experience for citizens who are really keen to take the vaccine shot, the chief minister added.

Thackeray wrote that the vaccine supply was also a major challenge.

"If possible, the state is willing to procure the requisite stock of vaccines in a single procurement. However, the producers do not have enough stocks. If the states are allowed to procure vaccines from other manufacturers as well, a large population would be covered in a shorter time and help reduce the impact of a possible third wave," the CM siad.

He also requested that the ICMR may set the medical framework for the FDAs of each state, within which various vaccines available to the world may be procured to fight COVID-19.

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