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Massive Rise In Vaccination Numbers In India

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Vaccination II News Aur Chai

The centralized Covid-19 vaccination drive started on June 21, 2021. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision in an address to the nation. This decision was taken after the states failed to procure vaccines.

India vaccinated over two crores (20 million) people in the last three days. Overall, the country administered more than 30 crores (300 million) vaccine doses.

This saw some cheer spread amongst the supporters of the ruling party. However, senior Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and P Chidambaram criticized the government. They raised questions on numbers and the pace of the vaccination.

PM Modi addressed the nation on June 7, 2021. In his 30 minute address, he informed the country of the decision to centralize the vaccination drive. He spoke about the reasons behind the vaccination shortage and the sluggish vaccination drive. Finally, he laid down the roadmap on the progress of India’s vaccination effort.

India started its vaccination drive on January 16, 2021. As the drive progressed, the states demanded a decentralized approach to vaccinating the people. The demand arose from the Opposition ruled states. At the same time, leaders from the Opposition spread misinformation about the vaccines. They created an atmosphere of vaccine hesitancy.

The Opposition shifted many goalposts criticizing the vaccination program. They demanded the vaccine be opened for all despite the government adopting a scientific approach. The opposition leaders demanded the vaccination drive be decentralized.

Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal wrote letters asking for a decentralized process.

Rahul Gandhi wrote a letter of April 9, 2021. In his letter, he asked the Central government to give states more significant say in vaccine procurement and distribution. Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma endorsed the view. He said, “We are a federal country…health is a state issue. The epidemic is separate. But when it comes to healthcare, the Centre cannot control.”

Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal CM, wrote a letter on February 24, 2021. She held the view that states should be allowed to purchase vaccines directly with state funds. Arvind Kejriwal followed in her footsteps. He wrote a letter in March.

When the Centre allowed them to handle the vaccination in their states, the state governments failed to deliver. They could neither procure vaccine doses nor could they make use of available doses of vaccine. States floated global tenders for vaccines. But foreign pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, refused to deal with them.

The Chief Ministers of Delhi, Kerala and Jharkhand had announced free vaccinations. When they failed, they wrote letters to PM Modi. They wanted the PM to fulfil their promise.

The other aspect of the decentralized vaccination drive was the wastage of vaccines. Covid-19 centres in Rajasthan dumped 100 vials of the vaccine in the garbage. Similar news reports came in from Raipur village in the Pali district. The Congress-ruled states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand topped the wastage charts. Both states had a wastage percentage above 37 per cent.

As the states failed to procure vaccines, Congress reversed its stand on decentralization of the vaccination process. It accused the Centre of abdicating its responsibility. This cost India almost 4 – 6 weeks and slowed down the process. It prompted PM Modi to take charge of the situation.

During his address, he rolled out the new vaccination plan. PM Modi announced that the recent vaccination would start from June 21. The vaccination drive would be free of cost for all people above the age of 18.

The Centre took back the responsibility for the procurement of vaccines. PM Modi announced the details of the procurement process. He said the Centre would 75 per cent of vaccine doses. They would be distributed to the states for free. Private hospitals would procure the remaining 25 per cent at market price.

The PM capped the prices of the vaccine doses. He said the hospitals could charge only INR 150 as a service charge. The highest fees for the vaccines available in the market were capped. Private hospitals could not charge more than the capped price. Covishield was made for INR 780, Covaxin for INR 1410 and Sputnik V at INR 1145.

The centralized vaccination drive started on June 21 with a huge success. People started noticing the high number of vaccine doses administered on the day. India administered an unprecedented 90,86,514 (9 million) doses of vaccine. The momentum carried forward, despite a dip. The next day India vaccinated 5.4 million. It followed up with 6.4 million and 6 million doses on the following days. India is averaging 50 lakh (5 million) doses a day. In numerical terms, India is vaccinating a little more than the entire population of New Zealand every day.

However, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh pointed out the figures from Madhya Pradesh stated that the numbers don’t add up. He quoted figures and tweeted, ‘Who are we trying to fool’.

The Madhya Pradesh Medical Education Minister tweeted back, “We organized a mega mass vaccination drive on Monday. Tuesday (June 22) is not our vaccination day. The data you are talking about (less than 5000 Covid vaccines administered) only includes private hospitals.”

The next day Madhya Pradesh vaccinated a whopping 10,84,698 (1 million) vaccine shots. Today, Madhya Pradesh vaccinated 7,44,784 (744 thousand) vaccine doses. As I put this story to bed, India, on June 24, 2021, administered 60,36,389 (6 million) doses of Covid vaccines.

The vaccination numbers under the centralized vaccination drive are witnessing a massive spike. With India administering one crore (10 million) doses every two days, the country is taking giant strides.

An aspiring journalist bit by the bug of Indology. Love to ponder upon moments of life philosophizing about them. I am an avid cricket buff and look forward to new and exciting adventures through reading and travel. I like writing about political events, climate, and personal thoughts on life and literature.

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Hypocrisy of Federalism: Reply on Oxygen Related Deaths

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Death and Oxygen COVID II News Aur Chai

On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry reported to the Parliament that no deaths were recorded due to a lack of oxygen across the country during the second wave of the pandemic.

The officials and ministers in eight states also denied fatalities due to the lack of oxygen. Whereas reports indicate that approximately 320 patients may have died in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic due to oxygen shortage.

The report by the Union Health Ministry to the Parliament has triggered massive criticism across the country. It has also prompted some significant accusations against the Bhartiya Janata Party [BJP].

The denial of the officials and ministers of the eight states regarding the same has also triggered a major rebuttal from within their parties, accusing them of aiding the Centre in hiding oxygen-related deaths.

According to a volunteer-driven data collation effort, DataMeet, Media from across 20 states report that there were approximately 619 deaths recorded due to lack of oxygen. However, later the cause of deaths was disputed with other factors that attributed to the fatalities.

MAHARASHTRA 

The state health minister of Maharashtra, Rajesh Tope also sided with the Centre’s stand of no-oxygen-related deaths.

“As far as Maharashtra is concerned, we have never said that any death due to oxygen shortage,” he said to a local TV channel on Wednesday.

However, in April and May, the shortage of oxygen supply in the state had prompted the Chief Minister, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, to request the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to inspect the proposal of pressing the Indian Air Force to arrange additional oxygen supplies for the state.

HARYANA 

A medical board in Hisar- a region in Haryana, had openly established oxygen shortage as a cause of deaths in the region.

Additionally, after an inquiry, 22 patients succumbed to Covid due to the lack of oxygen in Haryana.

MADHYA PRADESH 

According to the reports of DataMeet, figures indicated that approximately 68 deaths took place across the state of Madhya Pradesh due to lack of oxygen.

However, Vishwas Sarang, the medical education Minister, stated, “We received at least 10-12 complaints related to deaths due to oxygen supply disruption. Medical experts found the cause of death was other medical complications, not hypoxia,”

GOA 

In Goa, between May 10- May 14, approximately 83 patients succumbed to death.

But according to Dr Shivanand Bandekar, the Dean of Goa Medical College and Hospital stated, “We can’t put this as a direct answer. People who come to GMC, they are all referred because we are a tertiary (care) center where criticality is high and most of the patients die because of Covid pneumonia where oxygen is a part of the treatment. So we cannot directly say this (disruption in the oxygen supply) is the reason why they have died,”

However, during the hearing at Goa at the time of these deaths, the state government had admitted that “some of the casualties may have taken place” due to supply disruption.

Within the same hearing, the Bombay High Court had said, “We have long passed the stage of determining whether patients are suffering from the lack of oxygen or not. The material placed before us establishes that patients are indeed suffering and even in some cases succumbing for want of the supply of oxygen, in the State of Goa.”

Officials and ministers of several states like West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh took a similar stand while siding with the Centre on their “no deaths due to Oxygen shortage” statement.

Even though various reports and data reflect a significant number of deaths due to a shortage of oxygen supply within different states, the Center and the state officials have refused to acknowledge them and have denied that these fatalities are attributed to the lack of oxygen supply.

Health Activist Amulya Nidhi from Madhya Pradesh, claims that volunteer groups from across the country have clear case studies and data that report deaths of patients across various states due to a lack of oxygen supply. “If they are so sure about it, they should allow an independent team of experts to probe the matter,” he said.

 

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Why Are people Not Taking Covid Vaccine?

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COVID Vaccine II News Aur Chai

Since the beginning of the Pandemic in 2020, all people have wanted is to find a way back to normal. A way from virtual lives to real, social lives. Being trapped at home with limited movement has been fun for no one. And yet, when a solution is finally being offered, people are hesitant to embrace it. Vaccines are the solution to once and for all immunise us against this virus, but many people fail to embrace the cure. Even though the vaccination reduces risks in exposure to the mutating variants of the Novel Coronavirus, there are people reluctant to take the possibly life-saving shot.

A vaccine race began throughout the world to curb the spread of Covid, India being one of the leaders. Immunisation is proven to be the most successful means to prevent diseases. Still, there is always hesitance that follows with the process. Many reasons cause vaccine hesitancy, but three of the main reasons are inadequate knowledge and fear of side effects, the speed of vaccine development, and rumours and myths.

The biggest fear that prevents people from taking the vaccine is a fear of side effects caused by inadequate knowledge. Many of us might show reluctance in taking the vaccine, fearing the severity of side effects. This tends to happen because most people do not understand how a vaccine works and nudges our bodies to create antibodies in our system to immunise us to the virus.

Many people reason that the side effects make them sick when they have been in perfect health for so long. They believe that it is the vaccine that makes them sick. This cannot be further from the truth. The public needs to be made aware of the workings of the vaccine to promote the vaccination drive around the world.

The other cause for hesitancy is the speed at which the vaccines have been developed. Many people believe that simply because the development speed of Covid immunising shots was quicker as compared to past viruses, corners have been cut in the process. It is essential to know that this is not true as all the procedures have been followed during the development of vaccines. None of them have been permitted for distribution without clinical trials and the approval of the FDA.

The last reason is that of rumours and myths. The rural population, a key demographic in our country, is reluctant to take the vaccine due to a lack of information provided to them. The inadequacy makes them quick to believe in rumours and myths surrounding immunisation, consequently making them reluctant to participate in the process. Reports of death post the vaccine have fanned the rumour mills in rural areas regarding the fatality of the vaccine.

Hesitancy in vaccination can also be seen in another key demographic, women. The proof for this in India is the disparity in men’s vaccination ratios which are starkly contrasting. Rumours and myths surrounding vaccines have led the population to believe that taking the jab affects fertility in women. It is essential to know that vaccinations do not cause infertility in men or women. It is this kind of rumour-mongering that causes fear in people.

Misleading tweets by prominent figures also cause vaccine hesitancy. One prime example is senior advocate Prashant Bushan, whose tweets about the efficacy and safety of covid vaccines were tagged as “misleading” by Twitter.

Tweet by Prashant Bhushan

Misinformation being spread by prominent people is another cause of reluctance in people not taking the vaccine, which must be stopped to defeat the Pandemic.

Many people who have already suffered from Coronavirus also believe that they do not need the vaccine as they are already immune to the disease. This is a falsehood that needs to be cleared as a vaccine prolongs the effectiveness of the immunisation, keeping the person safe for a more extended period.

Vaccines are preventative medicines that allow us to acquire immunity against the virus, preparing our bodies to protect us in case of exposure to the disease. While vaccination may not provide complete safety, it reduces the severity of the infection and the chances of death.

With newer and stronger variants emerging as mutations of the Coronavirus, all of us must be fully vaccinated. It is the only way to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us. It is also the only way to make a return slowly but surely to what we knew as “normal” and stop living life as we have known for the past one and a half years.

 

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ZyCov-D Proposed As World’s First DNA COVID Vaccine

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ZyCOV-D DNA Vaccine II News Aur ChaiI

With the Delta Variant setting its wave globally, ZyCoV-D, India’s first Plasmid DNA Covid-19 vaccine, is in the running for an Emergency Use Authorization from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Vaccine maker Zydus Cadila, which already has anti-Covid treatments on the market, claims to have conducted the largest clinical trial in India so far at over 50 centres, with over 28,000 volunteers ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old.

According to the firm, with its 66.6 per cent effectiveness for RT-PCR positive patients in the interim study, ZyCov-D has already demonstrated solid immunogenicity, tolerance, and safety profile. It went on to say that no moderate instances of Covid-19 were seen in the vaccination arm after the third dose was administered, indicating a 100 per cent effectiveness for mild illness.

What is Zydus’ approach?

By mid-August, the business intended to be manufacturing 10 million doses each month, according to managing director Sharvil Patel. “We are currently only focusing our efforts on making sure we can make doses available for India,” Patel said in a virtual news conference. If the injection is approved, it will become the country’s sixth vaccination to be approved for use.

Patel added that data on immunogenicity for the adolescent children subgroup would be submitted in the next four to six weeks.

The pharmaceutical company has also provided data on a two-dose regimen for the injection.

What are DNA vaccines?

ZyCoV-D, if authorized, will be the world’s first DNA vaccine, according to Zydus, since it uses a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic code – DNA or RNA – to trigger an immune response against the virus’s spike protein.

How are DNA vaccines Different from mRNA vaccines?

In contrast to the viral vector vaccines or inactivated vaccines like Covishield and Covaxin, DNA and RNA vaccines trigger an immune response by using a portion of the virus’s genes.

The distinction between DNA and RNA vaccinations is that the latter is passed on to a different molecule known as messenger RNA. The DNA vaccination also uses a tiny electrical pulse to convey the message to the cell.

DNA and RNA vaccines are less expensive than standard protein vaccinations. They are praised for their efficacy and capacity to be produced more quickly. Because DNA and RNA vaccines rely on genetic code rather than a live virus or bacterium. They may theoretically be made more widely available.

According to research published in the medical journal Frontiers in Immunology in 2019, “preclinical andclinical trials have shown that mRNA vaccines provide a safe and long-lasting immune response inanimal models and humans.”

According to WHO, DNA vaccines have a variety of potential advantages over traditional methods, including activation of both B and T cell responses and improved vaccine durability.

Is ZyCov-D needle-free?

A needle-free injectable method is reported to be used to deliver ZyCoV-D. (NFIS). In most NFISs, a jet of fluid is accelerated to a high enough speed to penetrate the skin through a tiny diameter nozzle. The vaccination may have a greater acceptance rate among youngsters who are afraid of needles, according to Sharvil Patel, managing director of Cadila Healthcare.

The three doses of Zycov-D should be given on days 0, 28, and 56, according to Zydus Cadila. The firm is, however, working on a two-dose vaccination.

According to the company’s information, the vaccine candidate may be stored for a long time at two to eight degrees Celsius and for a brief time at 25 degrees Celsius.

What does the Government have to say about the indemnity of the Vaccine?

The Government is still deliberating whether vaccine makers should be indemnified, as Pfizer and Moderna have asked. While a final decision is still pending, key authorities have stated that there is agreement.

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