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Covid 19 Vaccination Drive of India crosses 100 crore mark, Milestone highlights & way forward

Covid 19 Vaccination Drive of India crosses 100 crore mark, Milestone highlights & way forward

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  • GS 3 || Science & Technology || Health & Medicine

Why in news?

On October 21, 2021, India achieved another key milestone in its fight against the covid-19 epidemic. It reached the milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccines, which included both the first and second doses.

Present status of Covid-19 in India:

  • India, on the other hand, reported 18,454 new cases in the past two days.
  • Currently, there are 1,78,831 active cases.
  • The recovery rate is currently at 98.15 percent, which is the highest since March 2020.

Covid-19 Vaccination:

  • About 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated (291 million), with 707 million receiving the first dose.
  • India wants to fully vaccinate around a billion people by the end of 2021, but experts believe the effort has to step up speed.
  • With this achievement, India becomes the second country in the world to surpass the one billion mark, following China in June.

Vaccinations First Phase:

  • Approximately 30 million health care personnel and frontline workers who were directly working with Covid-19 patients received the vaccine in the first phase of vaccination.
  • The immunization plan was then expanded to include more people in following rounds.

It took 9 months to get to the Historic Landmark:

  • India took modest efforts in protecting its population against Coronavirus by launching a vaccine campaign against the deadly COVID-19 in February.
  • In the beginning, the vaccination was exclusively available to healthcare workers, essential workers, and senior individuals aged 45 and up.
  • However, after the country was attacked by the second wave of the pandemic, COVID-19 immunization became available to all adult citizens in May 2021.
  • Since then, India has delivered 100 crore vaccination doses to over 75 percent of its adult population in just seven months.

What makes it admirable?

  • The World’s Largest and Fastest Vaccination Drive: India’s immunization campaign against COVID-19 is the world’s largest, with the country’s entire adult population of over 100 crores being inoculated. The drive is the world’s largest and dwarfs drives taking place on several other continents.
  • China has given nearly twice as many doses to its population as the rest of the world, but it was the first to do so.
  • With a limited supply of vaccines, India just started in mid-January 2021.
  • During the pandemic’s worst phase, the devastating second wave, vaccine shortages were felt most acutely.
  • The problem was met with the help of vaccine makers and a large network of healthcare professionals.
  • India ceased exporting vaccinations, affecting most low- and middle-income countries, so crossing the one-billion-dollar milestone became achievable.

Initial challenges to the vaccination drive in India:

  • Logistical problems: Delivery of product with proper packing on time was one of the biggest challenges.
  • Supply shortages: Many a time supply shortage was seen while vaccination campaigns at many places which many times raise questions on the demand and supply strategies of the government.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • vaccination apprehension:Fear of side effects kept 24 percent of people from getting vaccinated, while 11 percent were hesitant to get immunised for reasons other than fear of side effects.
  • A devastating second wave of Covid-19: Second wave of Covid-19 created huge damage to lives and planning and actions of government to stop spread of virus was questioned, this created mistrust on govt. and its strategies

Which vaccines are being used in India?

  • India is utilizing three vaccines: the Covishield vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Covaxin from Indian firm Bharat Biotech, and Sputnik V from Russia.
  • India has also approved the country’s first vaccine for children under the age of 18. The ZyCoV-D vaccine, which comes in three doses, is the world’s first DNA vaccination against Covid-19.
  • It should be available in a few weeks. The Department of Biotechnology and the Indian Council of Medical Research collaborated in the development of ZyCov-D. (ICMR).
  • The government has also given Cipla, an Indian pharmaceutical company, permission to import Moderna’s vaccine, which has a roughly 95% efficacy rate against Covid-19. However, it is unclear how many doses will be made accessible to India at this time.
  • Several other vaccinations are awaiting clearance at various levels.

What are the tasks ahead?

The achievement of 100 crore doses is really a stepping stone, not the final aim.

  • Age group of adults:
    • The bigger task is to vaccinate the world’s 94 million adult population.
    • However, India has only recently passed the halfway point in achieving this target.
    • To reach the goal, the immunization push must be accelerated even as vaccine availability increases.
    • Efforts should be made to speed up the second-dose vaccination process.
  • Children
    • When the full population of around 135 crore is considered, an even less portion of the job has been finished.
    • Vaccines for children under the age of 18 are only recently become available, and there is still a long way to go.
  • Booster doses:
    • By the end of 2021, India appears to be on track to vaccinate roughly 70-80 percent of its adult population.
    • However, those who had their vaccine in January and February may find their immunity has waned by then.
    • As a result, India must remain open to the idea of administering booster dosages beginning in 2022.
    • In India, the debate on booster doses, their frequency, timing, and other factors has yet to begin.

Conclusion:

While planning the world’s largest and fastest vaccination program, India made sure that it was inclusive, not just in terms of state and UT participation, but also in terms of gender parity. India secured gender parity during the COVID-19 vaccine program, and as a result, 51.9 percent of the 100 crore doses provided so far have been given to males, while 48.1 percent have been given to females.

Mains oriented question:

Covid-19 Pandemic brought many challenges with it and one of the biggest challenges was its cure, treatment and vaccination. India being highest in population after China overcame the challenges with the vaccination program. What were the hurdles in the path? Write in Detail. (250 words)