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COVID 19 Weekly Updates

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 22 Mar 2021

With the second phase of the vaccination drive in full swing, here’s the weekly update of the highlights of what’s been happening on India’s COVID vaccination scenario.

India continues to administer the second dose between 4-6 weeks even as WHO suggests otherwise.

India has emerged as one of the confident players choosing to play by her own rules in the war against COVID-19. With the second phase of the COVID vaccine already underway, India continues to administer the vaccine within a gap of 4 to 6 weeks. In the light of the latest research from WHO, which suggests that the vaccines are more effective when administered within an interval of 8 to 12 weeks, this is seen to be controversial in some quarters.

However, talking to The Economic Times recently, Dr VK Paul, NITI Arogya member clarified: “All I can say with full responsibility is that the scientific basis on which these decisions have to be made are being fully addressed by an independent and very competent group of scientists.”. Read more here.

Export of Covid-19 vaccine doses is near double the amount used in India.

India is seen to be bringing hope to a large global community as it is the primary exporter of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Reports by Junior Health and Family Minister Ashwin Kumar Choubey state that India has exported over 5.84 crores of indigenous COVID vaccine doses to over 70 countries. In comparison, only 3.48 crore doses have been administered in India since the vaccination drive began.

This has raised eyebrows in several quarters. The concern is about how it may lead to millions of Indians falling behind in getting their doses. Given the new surge in COVID cases, several health experts and doctors have requested the Centre to speed up the vaccination process to counter the increase in cases. Read about it here.

6.5% of COVID vaccines are going to waste

Lack of awareness is leading to a criminal waste of the coronavirus vaccine. While there has been a rush in the urban vaccination centres, the rural centres are having to urge people to get vaccinated. Due to the uneven flow of recipients, the doses, which need to be administered within four hours of being opened, are being rendered useless. Experts argue this problem can be tackled by making the eligibility for the vaccines more flexible. Currently, it is only being administered to front line workers and people above the age of 45 suffering from health conditions. Read more here.

Ambassador of Paraguay requests for COVAXIN supply

India has emerged as the manufacturing hub of COVID 19 vaccines, with supplies being sent out to more than 72 countries. Paraguay might soon be added to that list of those receiving made-in-India vaccines, with the Ambassador of Paraguay requesting India for the supply of COVAXIN. Praising India for its vaccine diplomacy, Ambassador Fleming Raul Duarte has requested over 1.2 hundred million doses of COVAXIN. This vaccine has been launched by the Hyderabad-based lab Bharat Biotech, and along with COVISHEILD, has already been exported to many countries. Read about it here.

India launches the second-fastest vaccination drive

What better way to celebrate National Vaccination Day than to administer vaccine shots at unprecedented numbers? March 16 is annually celebrated as the National Vaccination Day. This time, India set a precedent with over 3 crore shots being administered on the day. The two vaccines’ shots – COVISHIELD and COVAXIN – have been issued at an average rate of 1.26 million doses per day. This puts India right behind The United States, where the average vaccination rate has been 2.5 million doses a day. Read more here.

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