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The daily dose: October 20, 2021

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on October 20, 2021

We curate some of the top stories of Covid-19 for you

# Getting there: India is within striking distance of the 100 crore vaccinations milestone. A mammoth roll-out journey over 10 months, involving healthcare workers, vaccine-makers and logistics companies, to mention just a few involved in this uphill task.

Looking at what lies ahead in terms of covering the tricky “last mile” of vaccine coverage, top scientist Dr Gagandeep Kang, professor with The Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Christian Medical College (Vellore), is optimistic. “We will get there at the rate we are going — but it will require much effort,” said Dr Kang, in an interview with BusinessLine.

# 99 crore and rising: India’s Covid vaccination coverage exceeded the 99 crore mark on Tuesday, with the country administering more than 39.6 lakh vaccine doses till 7:30 PM, as per the CoWIN Dashboard. Last week, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had said that the Government would achieve the target of 100 crore first doses of vaccination. As per the Health Ministry, more than 10.42 crore Covid vaccine doses are still available with the States and UTs to be administered.

# Resuming exports: WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has discussed the issue of the emergency use listing of Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin and resumption of supplies of the Serum Institute of India-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine to the COVAX facility, among other topics during a telephonic conversation with Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, according to a report.

# Sputnik’s troubles in SA: The South African drug regulator has rejected the Russian-made Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V, citing some safety concerns the manufacturer wasn’t able to answer, a report said.

# Second dose woes: A “sizeable number” of people in India have not taken their second Covid-19 vaccine dose by the due date despite adequate supplies, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, as new infections fell to their lowest since early March.

# Well intended, but a distraction: Big pharmaceutical companies have reiterated their commitment to supply Covid vaccines to the the World Health Oganization-supported Covax facility, and added that collaborations were the way out of the pandemic.

“Other proposals, while well intentioned, are a distraction,” said a note from the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), referring to the proposal seeking an Intellectual Property (IP) waiver on Covid products, made by India and South Africa, at the World Trade Organisation.

# Masks against viruses: VST IoT Solutions, under the Kerala Start-up Mission, has launched a special mask that can kill viruses in five seconds on contact with the surface, earning topicality when schools are to reopen after one-and-a-half years of the Covid pandemic-induced break.

# Russian hesitancy: Vaccines are plentiful but Russians show hesitancy and scepticism when it comes to getting vaccinated, according to a report.

Published on October 20, 2021

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