India has won much well deserved praise for selling and gifting COVID-19 vaccines to her friends throughout the world, but will have to beef up the vaccination campaign throughout the country if India wishes to achieve its immunization targets at home, said a report by Reuters.
With the second-highest Covid-19 cases in the world after United States, India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by August. However, looking at the speed of vaccinations in India, it would take several years to achieve its goal. So far only 7.5 million frontline workers have received the vaccination doses.
Gagandeep Kang, Professor of Microbiology at the Christian Medical College in Vellore told Reuters, “Vaccination programs usually start off slow and then ramp up as logistic and operational issues are sorted out”. He further added “In India, we are fortunate that supply of vaccines is not a rate-limiting step, but to meet the timelines set by the government, we will have to immunize somewhere between 4 and 5 times more people each day than we are doing today.”
Even though vaccinations ratio to the population has been much higher in many other countries, the health ministry claims that India is the fastest to reach 7 million milestone and the govt. is ready to step up immunizations starting next month in collaboration with private hospitals even though working with private hospitals is going to be a bit tricky.
The central government has also urged state governments to step up the vaccination drive. A government online vaccine platform told Reuters that it could handle 10 million vaccinations a day.
With the world’s 60% vaccines being made in India, the government has sold or even “gifted” vaccine shot to 17 countries and has requests from 5 more. The government stated in the parliament this week that it was coordinating with the manufacturers to ensure adequate supplies for its own campaign. It added further that infrastructure such as cold storage and special vehicles are not an issue and acknowledged that people are nervous about the vaccine.
Regarding people’s hesitance, Bharat Biotech has stated that efficacy data from the late-stage clinical trial will be out by next month.
The government has been running a caller-tune campaign to convince the general population that the vaccine shots are safe and effective. India is also expected to approve other shots in coming months, including Russia’s Sputnik V and products from Cadila Healthcare, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson.
With inputs from Reuters