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The Government of India has been supporting the efforts of the States and Union Territories for effective management of Kovid patients in vaccination under the ‘Universal Government’ system since January this year. As covid is an epidemic with global implications, global demand for the vaccine is very high in all countries, as the number of manufacturers with limited production capacity is also limited. With a population of 1.4 billion, India has a huge proportion of the world’s population, which according to the World Bank is 7.7 billion. In India, in January 2021, the regulatory body approved two vaccines. Both the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech had the capacity to supply about 100 million doses of the vaccine by December 2020. The National Expert Team on Vaccine Administration for Vaccine-19 (NEGVAC) was formed in August 2020 to prioritize beneficiaries for vaccines, vaccine collection and vaccine selection, as well as vaccination initiatives.
The COVD-19 vaccine is based on a review of the preferred scientific evidence of beneficiaries in India, WHO guidelines, global examples, and practice adopted in other countries, with the primary goal of:
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Provide healthcare and protection to frontline employees and thereby protect the epidemic response process.
Prevention of death due to Covid-19 and protection of people at risk due to extreme danger and disease.
Accordingly, the vaccination campaign to include priority groups in our country has gradually expanded. It was launched on 16 January 2021 through the Healthcare Worker (HCW). Subsequently, it includes Front Line Workers (FLWs) from February 2, 2021, people over the age of 100 from March 1, 2021, and people aged 45-9 suffering from 20 identified diseases. Thereafter, from 1 April 2021, all persons 45 years of age or older are eligible for vaccination.
This approach has yielded very positive results. It has achieved more than 90% vaccination coverage among registered HCWs, including the first dose, and about 84% vaccination coverage among registered FLWs protecting this group, along with conducting second wave healthcare services, surveillance and prevention activities during Covid-19. Involved.
Similarly, with a focus on reducing mortality from March 21, people aged 60 and over and those aged 45-59 were subsequently affected by various diseases. Thereafter, from April 1, 2021, all persons aged 45 years and over were included in the vaccine.
The third phase of the Covid-19 vaccine began on May 1, 2021, where all citizens 18 years of age or older are eligible to be vaccinated. Guided the ongoing Phase III of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, the adoption of ‘a generous value and accelerated national Covid-19 vaccination strategy’ was adopted on May 1, 2021. The goal of this strategy is to accelerate vaccine production for vaccine producers and to attract new vaccine manufacturers. This will increase vaccine production, increase vaccine availability, consequently increase flexibility in vaccine pricing, collection and vaccination, which will ultimately improve vaccine coverage.
To date, India has been using three vaccines against Kovid-19 in its vaccination campaign. Two of these vaccines – Kovishield of the Serum Institute of India and Kovacin of Bharat Biotech – have themselves been manufactured in India, delivering about 7.92 crore doses in May 2021.
Vaccine production capacity has been increased. Being an organic product it takes time to prepare and test the quality of vaccines. This cannot be done overnight by ensuring safe products. Thus, increasing production capacity requires a very guided process.
The third vaccine is the Russian Sputnik-V, which has received limited use from the Indian Drug Controller General (DGCI) for emergency use. It is being used in a few private hospitals, which is expected to increase in the coming days.
For the supply of Covid-19 vaccine in the country, the Government of India is in regular consultations with vaccine manufacturers at national and international level through Pfizer, Modarna etc. through NEGVAC.
The concrete steps are a strong indication that the Government of India is making every effort to increase vaccine production in the country and to provide the required vaccine doses to foreign vaccine manufacturers for the national covid vaccination program.
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Despite barriers to the availability of vaccines, India has done well by vaccinating 200 million people in just 130 days, the third largest coverage in the world.