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Wait Ends For Corona Vaccine in India

Vaccination drive for covid 19 in India will not only be challenging but an extremely ambitious exercise for the population of around 1.38 billion

With the emergency use approval of Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech Covid vaccines by Drug Controller General, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), India is all set for its widest and ambitious vaccination drive ever. This would perhaps end the most widely asked questions of the year 2020 i.e when will Covid 19 end?

The vaccination drive which starts within a week’s time from its approval is slated to target 30 million (3 Crore) workers in the forefront of India’s battle against novel coronavirus. This includes 1 crore healthcare workers and 2 crore frontline workers and professionals.

“In 1st phase of #COVID19Vaccination, #FreeVaccine shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that include 1 crore healthcare & 2 crore frontline workers. Details of how further 27 crore priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised,” Dr Harsh Vardhan tweeted on January 2. 

Who all will be vaccinated for Covid

The government has said that the latest electoral roll for the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly election will be used to identify the population aged 50 years or more.

The priority group of above 50 years is further subdivided into those above 60 years of age and those between 50 to 60 years of age for the phasing of roll out based on pandemic situation and vaccine availability. 

What are the doses for Covid 19 vaccines

According to the Health Ministry, two doses of vaccine, 28 days apart, need to be taken by an individual to complete the vaccination schedule. Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the health ministry has said.

The centre has said that it is advisable to receive a complete schedule of COVID vaccine irrespective of the past history of infection with Covid 19. “This will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease,” the centre has said.

The government aims to complete the first phase of vaccinations by August 2021. The timelines for the rest of the population are not known as yet. However, it is not as though the rest of the population will have to wait until the first phase of vaccination is complete. Other groups will begin to be inoculated simultaneously after some weeks or months. 

How safe are the vaccines

According to Drugs Controller General of India, VG Somani, “We will never approve anything if there’s slightest of safety concern. Vaccines are 110 % safe. Some side effects like mild fever, pain & allergy are common for every vaccine.”

Dosage, protection duration and storage

The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) has recommended the approval of two full doses of the vaccine administered around 4-6 weeks apart. Immune response could last at least a year. The vaccine can be stored at temperatures between 2°C and 8°C. 

Price of Corona vaccine

Serum Institute of India has said it would price the vaccine at 440 rupees (about $3) for the government and around Rs 700-800 for the private market.

Critical here will be the pace of the vaccination, and the availability of the required doses. SII has said it is ramping up production at its facilities. Also, a whole lot of other vaccines — apart from Covishield and Covaxin — are likely to be approved for use in India in the coming weeks. These include the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, the Russian Sputnik-V, and Zydus-Cadila’s ZyCoV-D candidate 

Preparations for the vaccination

Some 96,000 vaccinators have been trained, including 2,360 in a National Training of Trainers, and over 57,000 in district-level training carried out in 719 districts. More than 75 lakh beneficiaries have been registered on the Co-WIN platform, which will provide real-time information on vaccine stocks, their storage temperature, and individual beneficiaries of the shots, Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday.

The country’s cold chain infrastructure has been sufficiently upgraded to ensure last-mile delivery, and adequate supplies of syringes and other logistics have been arranged, he said. 

How to register for Covid-19 vaccination

The COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system, a digital platform will be used to track the enlisted beneficiaries for vaccination and COVID-19 vaccines on a real-time basis.

At the vaccination site, only pre-registered person will be vaccinated per the prioritization, and there will be no provision for on-the-spot registrations.

The eligible beneficiaries will be informed through their registered mobile number regarding the Health Facility where the vaccination will be provided and the scheduled time for the same.

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