After a whole year, the world has stepped on to 2021 with hopes of a vaccine to lead a pandemic-free life. The world’s second-largest populated nation, India, has begun its vaccination drive- one of the world’s largest immunisation procedure- on Saturday, 16th January 2021. Citizens received the news of the arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine in India with equal amounts of controversies, anxieties and hope.
The honourable Prime Minister kickstarted the great Indian Covid-19 vaccination drive via a televised address to the nation on Saturday morning. The country is currently depending on two different brands of vaccines, namely ‘Covaxin’ and ‘Covishield’. Covaxin is developed by the prestigious Oxford University and manufactured by one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers Serum Institute of India (SII), while Covishield is developed by a domestic pharmaceutical company, Bharath Biotech. At present, the Indian government is prepared with a stock of 5.5 million doses of Covaxin and 11 million doses of Covishield vaccines.
First vaccinated person in India
Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker at AIIMS, New Delhi became the first Indian citizen to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. The first phase of the Covid-19 vaccine in India will concentrate on the frontline workers, including doctors, nurses and sanitation workers. The government has decided to roll out this tremendous procedure in two phases. The first phase is supposed to immunise 3 crore healthcare workers through 3000 vaccine sites across the country. The second phase will inoculate 30 crore Indian citizens. The Prime Minister, as per instructions of the healthcare experts, has advised the nation to receive a double dosage within a 28-day gap to ensure effectiveness. He also reminded the nation to maintain discipline even after receiving the vaccination by continuing the usage of face masks and social distancing in public places.
According to the nation’s plans, an estimate of 300 million Indians will be vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 by the end of July 2021.
The general response to the arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine in India is a cocktail of controversies and relief. Most of the citizens who received the vaccination are safe and completely satisfied with it. Politicians including the Prime Minister, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Delhi Chief Minister and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister have urged people to receive the vaccination and not to believe in rumours against the efficiency and credibility of the vaccines.
According to reports, the recipient of the vaccine will also be handed a fact sheet and an adverse effect reporting form where they have to note down symptoms suffered within the first seven days. The consent form states that the vaccine has demonstrated the ability to produce antibody against the coronavirus in phase 1 and phase 2 of the clinical trials. “However, the clinical efficacy of Covaxin is yet to be established and it is being studied in phase 3 clinical trial,” the report said.
The fact that Covaxin has not yet completed its third phase of human trials has given rise to many controversies. Bharath Biotech, developers of Covaxin, has claimed their vaccine to be 100% foolproof and is liable to pay compensations to the recipients in case of any unforeseen side-effects or complications since it’s being administered during the clinical trial period.
The central government has made certain specifications about who can and cannot receive the vaccination. First of all, only citizens above the age of 18 are allowed vaccine shots. Also, citizens who have the following problems cannot receive vaccine shots-
- Active Covid-19 symptoms
- Already received anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies
- Hospitalised patients
- Blood clotting disorders
- Pregnant women
- Lactating mothers
- History of anaphylactic reactions
- Allergies to injections, vaccines, food items.
Covid-19 helpline: Co WIN
Despite the complications and negative allegations by the opposition parties, people are welcoming the vaccine with delight. To avoid people having to choose from the two vaccines, the government will provide either of the vaccines to each site. Citizens are given the freedom to choose not to get vaccinated if they prefer to do so, implying that it is absolutely voluntary. The ministry of health and family welfare is about to launch an online portal called Co-WIN to surveil the Covid-19 vaccination in India. The central government has set up a 24x7 helpline number 1075 to address people’s queries regarding the vaccination procedure and Covid-19 in general.
The Union Health Minister has announced that the Covid-19 vaccine in India will be free of cost, although it costs 295 INR in terms of production. Bharat Biotech has decided to provide 16.5 lakh doses free of cost to the Indian government. The whole vaccination drive has brought a sense of happiness and hope in the citizens. It’s better late than never, so grab the first opportunity you can and be a Covid-19 warrior. Let’s fight this together!