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COVID-19 vaccination for general public may take 6 months to a year, say Maharashtra officials

Supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses will be crucial for the timely completion of the early phases of vaccination meant for healthcare and frontline workers, and other high-risk groups.

January 14, 2021 / 10:17 AM IST
File image of a healthcare volunteer receiving a dummy COVID-19 vaccine as part of a vaccination dry run (Image: News18)

File image of a healthcare volunteer receiving a dummy COVID-19 vaccine as part of a vaccination dry run (Image: News18)

It could take six-seven months to a year for the first three phases of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise to conclude, senior Maharashtra health department officials told The Times of India. This would mean that the vaccine will be available for the general public only after six-seven months or a year after the nationwide inoculation exercise begins.

The news report cites senior officials as saying that the supply of vaccine doses will be crucial for the timely completion of the early phases meant for healthcare and frontline workers, and other high-risk groups. However, officials are expecting more COVID-19 vaccine candidates to get emergency use authorisation in the coming months. This is likely to help boost the supply of doses.

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Collation of data of frontline workers, including police personnel and staff of departments involved in COVID-19 management, will be crucial in the completion of phase-2 of the vaccination exercise, the report suggests.

The Union Health Ministry had earlier said that it is aiming to vaccinate 30 crore people by July.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: What you need to know about manufacturing and pricing

India had reported more than 1.04 crore COVID-19 cases as of January 13, including 1.51 lakh deaths due to the outbreak. While over 1.04 crore patients had recovered, around 2.14 lakh cases remained ‘active’. Globally, more than 9.17 crore individuals have been infected by the virus and over 19.69 lakh people have died so far.

India is scheduled to begin its COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16. A speedy rollout of vaccines is being seen as the best way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and restore normalcy in the pandemic-battered global economy. As many as 50 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already vaccinated a large number of people from high-risk groups.

Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 14, 2021 08:53 am

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