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On the verge of a billion jabs, and counting

Monika Yadav New Delhi | Updated on October 20, 2021

Awareness campaigns by way of public announcements to help achieve the milestone

India is all set to hit the 100-crore vaccination mark by Thursday with a massive public awareness drive, announcements at airports, bus and railway stations and flag-hoisting at different places. Till 6 pm on Wednesday, a total of 99.53-crore vaccinations were administered, of which 70.40 crore were first doses and 29.13 crore second. The day’s vaccination count was 41 lakh doses.

As per the CoWIN Dashboard, vaccine shots were administered at 74,231 sites, of which 71,666 were Government sites and the remaining private. Covishield from Serum Institute of India accounted for the lion’s share of the vaccines at over 87 crore and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for about 11 crore-odd, the rest being the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya Institute and marketed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Among States, Uttar Pradesh has administered the maximum doses at 12.18 crore, followed by Maharashtra at 9.28 crore and West Bengal at 6.84 crore.

“A series of preparatory steps were taken for the vaccine roll-out — transforming the scientific ecosystem to prepare India as developer of vaccines, use of IT to support the adult vaccination programme and well-organised social mobilisation campaign to proactively address issues of vaccine hesitancy. The vaccination programme has been planned according to availability of vaccines, matching priority beneficiary population and monitoring using the CoWIN platform. 100 crore is one of the several milestones that have given self-confidence and pride to the country. The consistent underlying paradigm has been Vaccine Atmanirbharta,” said NK Arora, head of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).

 

 

Against the odds

In the field, especially in remote areas, there is satisfaction among officers and health workers who worked round-the-clock to maximise the vaccination reach. According to Lakshmanan S, Mission Director, National Health Mission in Assam, the State has crossed 2.65 crore vaccinations (1.98 first dose and about 66 lakh double dose), after an exhaustive process of involving community and religious leaders to overcome vaccine hesitancy and surmounting extremely difficult logistical challenges.

“In remote places like Dimansa where health workers have to walk several kilometres to reach hamlets of a few hundred people, relay runs have to be done. One team has to reach a day in advance to set up the systems. The vaccines cannot be stored for more than 24 hours so the relay team reaches the next day. And in small, cloistered places, we have to vaccinate the entire population because leaving out even one individual would undo the whole process. This is a big feat for our health workers and field staff and they deserve our salute,” Dr Lakshmanan told BusinessLine.

At Changlang at the Myanmar border in Arunachal Pradesh, the administration airlifted the staff for vaccination. “In remote, inaccessible places like Vijaynagar which are six days away from the nearest town, vaccines and health workers had to be airlifted. Overcoming vaccine hesitancy entailed a lot of community mobilisation, especially in remote, far-flung areas,” Devansh Yadav, District Commissioner, Changlang, told BusinessLine over phone.

As per the Government data, more than 10.78 crore Covid vaccine doses are still available with the States/UTs. India reported 14,623 fresh Covid cases on Wednesday with 197 deaths till 8 am. The active caseload fell below the 2-lakh mark and stood at 1,78,098, lowest in 229 days. Active cases constituted 0.52 per cent of the country’s total positive cases. Also, the weekly positivity rate stood at 1.34 per cent, less than 3 per cent for the last 117 days. The daily positivity rate stood at 1.10 per cent and has remained below 3 per cent for the last 51 days and below 5 per cent for 134 consecutive days. Meanwhile, 13.23 lakh tests were conducted the previous day and the country has so far conducted over 59.44 crore cumulative tests.

According to VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, the were addressed. The government ensured safety of vaccines by setting up cold chain facilities, vaccination centres, facilitating transportation and other resources. The CoWIN IT platform also played a huge role in providing vaccination slots and issuing vaccine certificates,” Paul told BusinessLine.

Published on October 20, 2021

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