India’s total number of COVID-19 cases are at 1,00,99,066, out of which 2,89,240 are active cases. The Central government is expected to have some big announcement related to the vaccine on December 25. India is likely to approve Oxford/AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the country by next week, after its local manufacturer submitted additional data sought by authorities. It could be the first country to give the nod to the British vaccine as the British regulators continue trials.
India wants to start immunizing its citizens next month and is also considering emergency use authorization applications for vaccines made by Pfizer Inc and Bharat Biotech. The government has said that it will release one of these vaccines to the public as soon as the clinical data provided is found satisfactory.
Getting vaccines to the world’s second-most populated country with one of the highest infection rates will also be a big step in the battle against the pandemic. Bharat Biotech has already produced about 10 million doses of its Covaxin shot and has spent about $60 million to $70 million so far developing the vaccines. In order to halt the spread of the outbreak, India is likely to lean on the two-dose vaccines manufactured by Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India Ltd.
SII has partnered with AstraZeneca to make at least one billion doses of their shot, half of which have been kept for India. The AstraZeneca-Oxford shot is considered vital for lower-income countries and those in hot climates because it is cheaper, easier to transport and can be stored for long periods at normal fridge temperatures. Pfizer vaccine’s requirements for ultra-cold storage make it an unlikely candidate for widespread use across India, particularly in the impoverished countryside. Both Bharat and Serum’s vaccines can be stored at refrigeration temperature, making them more suited to India’s infrastructure.
The Indian government is already focused on effective management and administration of the vaccine once it is granted approval. The state governments as well as the Centre have already started preparations for the rollout.
Delhi hospitals have been working on arrangements for storage awaiting the arrival of vaccine. From installing freezers to cold chain equipment set up, arrangements are being made at a Delhi government hospital. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain recently had said that work was underway to build storage and transportation logistics so that once the vaccine arrives, the next process can begin soon. The sources at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH), a dedicated COVID-19 facility with 650 beds, said a total of 90 freezers are to arrive, many of which have already arrived and are being installed.
Covid-19 vaccine will be made available free of cost to all people in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. “No one will be charged for the vaccine. This is the stand of the government,” he said.
The Haryana government has written to the Centre to have public representatives including MPs and MLAs listed among the priority groups for Covid vaccination once it begins, Health Minister Anil Vij on Saturday. He also said the state government is making all preparations in terms of building database of priority groups, cold chain infrastructure; identification and training of vaccinators for rolling out vaccination.
The state will have 35,000 vaccination centres and vaccinators will record the data of people who are administered doses on an online platform.
Jammu and Kashmir
The Srinagar district administration has prepared a micro plan for COVID-19 vaccination under which the entire population of the district will be vaccinated within four months. The COVID-19 vaccine, when available, will be collected and stored at 50 cold chain points or CCPs located in areas spread across Srinagar. From CCPs, the vaccine will be transported in carriers to 123 sites identified as points of inoculation where vaccination will be administered to people as per a separate plan based on a database of prioritised groups of beneficiaries compiled.
The Maharashtra government is preparing to vaccinate over 30 million residents over three phases in six months.
Punjab has geared up for the mega exercise with a total of 729 cold chain points. Besides one state-level vaccine store, 22 district vaccine stores and 127 block level vaccine stories are being prepared for the roll-out of the vaccine in Punjab, which will also have 570 cold chain points. Besides one walk-in freezer at Ferozepur, the Government has decided to provide one more in Chandigarh. In addition, the state will have one walk-in cooler each at Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Ferozepur, with more to be received from the Centre. In addition, the state has 1165 Ice Lined Refrigerators and 1079 Deep Freezers.
Telangana government has constituted four committees for the coronavirus vaccination mechanism in the state. The committees are – State Steering Committee, State Task Force, District Task Force and Mandal Task Force. According to an order from Telangana’s health and family welfare department the government has constituted four committees for planning, execution, supervision and monitoring of COVID-19 vaccination program in the state.
Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh
States, including Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, have already made an announcement of providing Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to all people.