Home >News >India >India will need to administer the covid-19 vaccine on a much larger scale than other vaccines: Government

India will need to administer the covid-19 vaccine on a much larger scale than other vaccines, the union health ministry said on Thursday as the coronavirus cases continued to swell breaching the 16-lakh mark and claiming 35,000 lives.

The government maintained that India is making progress in the two indigenous vaccines that are undergoing Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials on more than 1,000 subjects each. “We have begun to actively engage with stakeholders within and outside the Government on prioritizing distribution and administering of covid-19 vaccines, if and when they become available," said Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Ministry. “There is near unanimity on the need to administer covid-19 vaccine on a much larger scale than other vaccines; apart from questions regarding logistics, this poses many ethical questions which are still being deliberated upon within the Central Government," he added.

The government said that India is a member and plays a leading role in both Gavi and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) vaccine projects. A dedicated facility called COVAX for vaccines has been developed under this, along with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the CEPI. The WHO has evolved Access to covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, to accelerate the Development, Production and Equitable Access to New covid-19 diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. The ACT facility under WHO will pool requirement and manufacturing capacity of countries to enable equitable access to covid-19 vaccines.

Affirming that India is ‘not’ looking at developing ‘herd immunity’ as a strategic option or choice, union health ministry said that with a population of 138 crores, it can only be an outcome, at a very “high cost". “Herd Immunity is a kind of indirect protection from an infectious disease like covid-19, which happens only when a population becomes immune, either through vaccination or previous infection. We need to sustain covid-19 appropriate behaviours and herd immunity is not a choice or option for India," said Bhushan.

Meanwhile the government has received 131 claims regarding insurance scheme for covid-19 healthcare workers. While 20 cases have been settled, 64 are under process and 47 are with states so far with maximum cases in Maharashtra, Delhi and Telangana, Bhushan said.

As India is all set to enter the Unlock-3 under which the Union Home Ministry has allowed gyms and yoga centres to be opened from August 5, union Health Ministry is taking technical inputs from domain knowledge experts, guidelines for operation of these facilities will be issued adequately in advance.

The recovery rate of covid-19 patients in the country, which was less than 8% in April, is now more than 64% as the country has crossed one million recoveries. “16 states have reported a covid-19 recovery rate which is higher than the national average rate. Delhi has the highest recovery rate of 88.99%, followed by 80.185 in the UT of Ladakh and then Haryana at 78.56%," said Bhushan adding that the number of recovered cases is 1.9 times more than that of active cases.

While the fatality was 3.33% in the month of June and has now come down to 2.21% which is amongst the lowest in the world, except for Russia, while most developed western countries have a fatality rate which is 5-7 times higher than that of India. 24 states and UTs report a covid-19 fatality rate which is lower than the national average. Many states have a fatality rate which is less than 1%

More than one crore tests have been done in this one month, leading to a cumulative number of more than 1.81 crore tests till today, the government said.

Meanwhile, All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), New Delhi has started providing free testing and treatment to patients in its covid-19 Health Centre (CHC), Union AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik announced on Thursday. The AIIA has also been designated as covid-19 testing centre (RT-PCR and Rapid antigen testing) by Government of Delhi.

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