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Over 47 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses administered on day one of revised guidelines

According to the revised guidelines which came into effect from June 21, vaccine doses provided free of cost by the Centre will be allocated to states and UTs based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination, and all above the age of 18 will be eligible for the free jabs.

June 21, 2021 / 05:12 PM IST
Source: AP

Source: AP

More than 47 lakh vaccine doses were administered across the country till Monday afternoon on the first day of the revised guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination coming into effect, the Union Health Ministry said.

India's cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 28 crore on Sunday with 28,00,36,898 doses being administered through 38,24,408 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 AM by the ministry.

According to the revised guidelines which came into effect from June 21, vaccine doses provided free of cost by the Centre will be allocated to states and UTs based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination, and all above the age of 18 will be eligible for the free jabs.

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Any wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively, they said.

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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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The Centre will now procure 75 percent of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the country.

It had earlier allowed states and private hospitals to procure 50 percent of the vaccines following demands for decentralisation of the process. However, after several states complained of problems including funding, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the revision of the vaccine guidelines on June 8.

In order to incentivise production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines, domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to also provide vaccines directly to private hospitals. This would be restricted to 25 percent of their monthly production, the new guidelines stated.

Within the population group of citizens more than 18 years of age, states and UTs may decide their own prioritisation factoring in the vaccine supply schedule, the revised guidelines issued by the health ministry stated.

The states and UTs would aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals and regional balance, they said.

"Based on this aggregated demand, the Government of India will facilitate the supply of these vaccines to the private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority's electronic platform."

"This would enable the smaller and remoter private hospitals to obtain a timely supply of vaccines, and further equitable access and regional balance," the ministry said.

The price of vaccine doses for private hospitals would be declared by each vaccine manufacturer, and any subsequent changes would be notified in advance.

The private hospitals may charge up to a maximum of Rs150 per dose as service charges. State Governments may monitor the price being so charged, the guidelines said.

All citizens irrespective of their income status are entitled to free vaccination. Those who have the ability to pay are encouraged to use private hospital's vaccination centres, the guidelines said.

"To promote the spirit of 'Lok Kalyan' (public good), use of non-transferable Electronic Vouchers, which can be redeemed at private vaccination centers, will be encouraged."

"This would enable people to financially support vaccination of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) at private vaccination centres," the revised guidelines said.

The COVID vaccination in the country commenced with the vaccination for all healthcare workers from January 16.

The programme was expanded with time to include vaccination of frontline workers, citizens more than 60 years of age, citizens more than 45 years of age and eventually citizens more than 18 years of age.

Under the National COVID Vaccination Program, from January 16 to April 30, 100 percent of vaccine doses were procured by the Government of India and provided free of cost to state governments.

State Governments were, in turn, asked to administer vaccination free of cost to defined priority groups.

To increase the pace of vaccination, participation of private hospitals was also enlisted where individuals could also choose to get vaccinated at a prescribed rate, the ministry said.

In response to the suggestions of many state governments to be permitted the flexibility to procure vaccine directly and administer them as per their own prioritisation based on local requirements.

From May 1, the Centre was procuring 50 percent of the vaccine produced and was continuing to provide them to states free of cost for administering to priority groups.

The state government and private hospitals were now also empowered to directly procure from the remaining 50 percent vaccine pool.

"Many states have, however, had communicated that they are facing difficulties in managing the funding, procurement and logistics of vaccines, impacting the pace of the National COVID Vaccination Program."

"Also it was noted that smaller and remoter private hospitals were also facing constraints."

"Keeping in view these aspects and the repeated requests received from states, the Guidelines for National COVID Vaccination Program were reviewed and revised and new guidelines were issued on June 8," the ministry said.

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PTI
first published: Jun 21, 2021 05:12 pm

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