India has remained in a constant battle against covid. On January 3 the DCGI gave a nod to the use of two covid-19 vaccines, namely, Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for emergency use. PM Modi also hailed the move, stating it as a step towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat due to the manufacturing of both vaccines taking place in India. Meanwhile Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have released a joint statement pledging to provide global access to their covid-19 vaccines.
However, it is to be noted that Covaxin as of yet has only been approved as a backup if required to inoculate a larger number of people in the light of the new variant. In contrast to SII’s Covishield, it will be used in clinical trial mode with consent taken and side effects monitored. Hitting out at critics who are questioning the efficacy of the vaccine, Bharat Biotech’s MD Krishna Ella has stayed firm on the vaccine’s credibility, stating that they “don’t deserve this backlash” and will be “ready with Phase III data in some days.”
While the dates for vaccine roll out have not yet been confirmed, 50 million doses of Covishield and 20 million doses of Covaxin are ready for use in India. The country has also been in constant preparation for the actual rollout, conducting dry runs all over the country to chart the procedure beginning from storage to the administration of the vaccine.
Dry run for Covid-19 vaccine rollout is currently underway in 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh. Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Amit Mohan has stated that the dry run exercise will help them “identify gaps in preparation & take corrective steps so that everything is conducted smoothly when actual vaccination is done.” Meanwhile, Bihar’s CM Nitish Kumar has stated that Bihar will be following central guidelines for vaccination procedure, wherein the vaccine priority will be given to healthcare workers, frontline workers, and people above 50 years.