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'Vaccine availability will not be an issue, 20-22 crore doses next month'

Chairperson of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI) Dr N.K. Arora made the announcement considering a record 85 lakh doses administered across the country till Monday midnight under new vaccination policy, in which Centre is procuring 75 percent of domestically available vaccines for free jabs to the 18-plus population.

June 22, 2021 / 12:53 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Asserting that India has the capacity to administer 1.25 crore COVID vaccine doses a day, the Centre on Tuesday made it clear that "there will not be any issue regarding vaccine supply" in the days ahead and that "around 20-22 crore doses will be administered next month".

Chairperson of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI) Dr N.K. Arora made the announcement considering a record 85 lakh doses administered across the country till Monday midnight under new vaccination policy, in which Centre is procuring 75 percent of domestically available vaccines for free jabs to the 18-plus population.

Noting that the dosage achieved on Monday as a "big achievement", a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHF) statement quoting Arora said: "Our aim is to vaccinate at least one crore people every day. Our capacity is such that we will easily be able to administer 1.25 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine every day."

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"This target is especially achievable in the wake of good support from private sector, and this was proved on the very first day when revised guidelines came into force."

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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 NTAGI Chairperson assured that there won't be any issue regarding availability of vaccine. "We will have around 20-22 crore doses next month."

"There will not be any issue regarding vaccine supply."

Arora also assured that the health infrastructure is well spread out to ensure that the vaccination drive reaches every corner of the country, including the hilly, tribal and very sparsely populated areas.

Speaking how India has been successful in the past as well, Arora said: "This is not unprecedented. In one week, we give polio vaccines to around 17 crore children. So, when India decides to do something, we are able to achieve it."

India's COVID-19 vaccination drive is becoming a prime example of how public and private sectors can join together to better address and solve problems faced by the nation, he added.

Responding to a query on dosage interval of Covishield vaccines, the Chairperson said that no need is felt at the moment to change the interval. "We are collecting data under the National Vaccine Tracking System and doing real-time evaluation regarding effectiveness of vaccines, dose interval, region-wise impact, variants; at present, no need is felt for changing dose interval of Covishield.

"The basic principle is that our people should get the maximum benefit from every dose of the vaccine. We find that the current dosages are proving to be beneficial."

He added that at the same time, nothing is written in stone.

The NTAGI Chairperson emphasised on the significance of people's participation and public awareness in order to avoid rumours and misconceptions against vaccination.

"Jan Bhagidari and Jan Jagran are very essential to eradicate the fear of vaccination. Ultimately it is in the hands of the public to come forward and get vaccinated".

Arora also mentioned that preparations have been made for spreading awareness about vaccination and ASHA workers and frontline workers have already started working from grassroots levels to fight vaccine hesitancy.

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IANS
first published: Jun 22, 2021 12:53 pm

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