India's Covid Vaccination Response
“When an apple a day could not keep the doctor away”
Four days ago, dispersion of the much awaited vaccination for the novel coronavirus commenced. There are two vaccines available in the market by two separate companies, namely the “Covaxin” manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Ltd., and the “Covishield,” licensed from the Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and locally manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
The inoculation drive started in phases, first being available to three crore front-line workers. These include health sector workers, safai karamcharis and the Army, to name a few. This first phase of vaccines is being delivered free of cost. As of today, almost 6 lakh people have been delivered with the vaccine. The phase is currently ongoing.
This mass vaccination drive is a commendable feat for a country that took a huge hit in 2020, when the virus initially hit us. The Indian Government, in coordination with International Organisations like the United Nations, has committed to making these vaccines available to the non-essential workers and community members as and when production catches up.
The Indian Ministry for External Affairs has also stated that India shall export batches of the covid vaccine to six countries under grant assistance. These countries are Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles.
It is important to note here that while various news sources have reported a few deaths caused by the covid vaccine, the same has not been attributed to the vaccine ultimately. But such incidents do tend to initiate something known as “vaccine hesitancy.” Many nurses and healthcare workers in the past few days have denied themselves compulsory vaccination. Health Secretary of India, Mr. Rajesh Bhushan, in this regard, stated that vaccine hesitancy is normal in novel diseases like covid-19, where little to no information was available. But vaccination is essential and the general public must be educated about it.
While this is definitely a happy moment, it is important to note that the covid vaccine comes with certain caveats. Immuno compromised individuals, pregnant ladies, individuals with bleeding disorders, allergies, or any other serious health-related issue as determined by the healthcare officer supervising the vaccination, should be careful before opting for the vaccine. One must also keep in mind that vaccination is not fool-proof and universal, hence, wearing of masks must be continued under all circumstances.
India, in the next few months, will see the roll out of newer vaccines, and boosted production of doses. It is finally time to say goodbye to the virus that stopped this world!