#Coronavirus: World’s Biggest Vaccination Drive Started In India; 5 Facts You Should Know

In what is likely the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign, India started inoculating health workers on Saturday. India is joining the ranks of wealthier nations where the effort is already well underway.

Total of 1,91,181 beneficiaries vaccinated for #COVID19 on day 1 of the massive nationwide vaccination drive: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

The Ambitious Plan:-

India is home to the world’s largest vaccine makers and has one of the biggest immunization programs. The ambitious plan is to vaccinate 300 million people. The recipients of the same are 30 million doctors, nurses and frontline workers. They shall be followed by 270 million people who are either over 50 years old or have illnesses that make them vulnerable.

Many burst with pride as the shots offered confidence that life can start returning to normal.

Politicians Are Not The Priority Group:-

Prime Minister Modi kickstarted the campaign with a nationally televised speech. Modi said “We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability”.

Whether or not Modi himself has taken the vaccine is not clear. In the first phase of rollout, government has said that politicians are not considered as a priority group.

Although, what percent of India’s population will come under this campaign is yet to be decided, but one thing is sure that it will be the largest drive of a kind.

The Challenge Ahead In Shipment & Delivery:-

India will rely heavily on digital platform to track the shipment as well as delivery, and with the patchy internet in most of the country, especially remote villages is going to be tricky and challenging.

The Health Ministry said cross 3006 centers, around 100 people were to be vaccinated on the first day.

On 4th January, India approved emergency use of two vaccines, one developed by Indian company Bharat Biotech and one developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca. Last week, 16.5 million shots to different Indian cities were given through cargo planes.

Apprehensive Of The Bharat Biotech Vaccine :-

Although there are doubts regarding the effectiveness of homegrown Bharat Biotech vaccine due to the regulatory shortcut taken to approve the vaccine. This has amplified vaccine hesitancy.

Doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, demanded that they be given AstraZeneca vaccine instead of the one developed by Bharat Biotech. There is a “bit apprehension about the lack of complete trial” in the doctors union. The VP of the hospital’s Resident Doctors Association said that they are not given the choice as of now.

Dr. S.P. Kalantri, the director of a rural hospital in Maharashtra said that government is taking decisions that might not be in the best interest of the common man. He said that in order to be a populist, government has given a hasty approval which is not backed by data and science.

The clock is ticking to vaccinate as many people as possible. Millions of citizens in wealthy nations like United States, Britain, Israel, Canada and Germany has already been given at least one dose of vaccines developed with revolutionary speed and quickly authorized for use.

But in other countries, the immunization drives have barely gotten off the ground and if experts are to be believed, it would mean another year of loss and hardship in places like Iran, India, Mexico and Brazil. These nations, together account for about a quarter as far as COVID-19 deaths are concerned.

When it comes to the confirmed cases, India is second to US whereas comes after US and Brazil as far as number of deaths are concerned.

According to the University of Oxford, over 35 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the world. A U.N.-backed project which intends to supply shots to developing parts of the world has found itself short of vaccines, money and logistical help.

Highly Unlikely To Protect Everyone:-

As a result, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, warned this week that it is highly unlikely that herd immunity — which would require at least 70% of the globe to be vaccinated — will be achieved this year. “Even if it happens in a couple of pockets, in a few countries, it’s not going to protect people across the world,” she said.

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