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India gets 2 COVID vaccines: What happens next?

Image Source : PTI

Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being briefed during a visit to the Bharat Biotech facility to review the development of indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020.

India’s drugs regulator on Sunday gave its nod to Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country. The World Health Organisation (WHO) welcomed the move, saying it will “help intensify and strengthen the fight against the pandemic in the region”.

Earlier on Saturday, a dry run for coronavirus vaccination was conducted by all states and union territory administrations to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges. 

So., what’s next?

PROCUREMENT OF VACCINES

Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has already stockpiled around 50 million dosages of Covishield and aims to produce up to 100 million dosages per month by March next year. The vaccine major will roll out the vaccine in the country in the coming weeks, as and when the government decides to procure it. The world’s largest vaccine manufacturer has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield. 

Covaxin, manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), could take a few days or weeks to be available.

READ MORE: Covid vaccine is here! Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech get approval

ADMINISTERING THE VACCINE

As soon as the government procures the vaccine from the said companies, it will begin the process of administering the vaccine within a week, keeping in view all arrangements and COVID-safety norms. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the first shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were administered within 1-2 days of receiving the regulatory approval. 

Vaccination drive has been based on election process planned down to the booth level. A humungous exercise to augment skilled personnel is underway. Over 57,000 participants across 719 districts have completed training. 96,000 vaccinators have been trained so far.

THE FIRST RECIPIENT 

In the first phase of coronavirus vaccination, free vaccine shall be provided across the nation to the most prioritized beneficiaries that include 1 crore healthcare and 2 crore frontline workers. This includes healthcare providers and workers in healthcare settings, both government and private, those in healthcare settings of central ministries, and HCWs of armed forces. The priority list also has onboard state and central police forces, home guard and civil defense organisation, disaster management volunteers and prison staff, municipal workers, revenue staff involved in containment and surveillance. Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said details of how further 27 crore priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalized.

READ MORE: ‘Very safe’: Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla assures as Covishield gets approval

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