New Delhi: India on Saturday began vaccinating health workers in the world’s largest Govt-19 vaccination campaign, joining the ranks of rich countries where the effort is already underway.
India is home to some of the world’s largest vaccine makers and one of the largest immunization programs. But there is no sports book for the enormous nature of the current challenge.
Indian authorities believe it will provide the footage to 300 million people, roughly several times the current population of the United States and its current target of 26 million children. Recipients include 30 million physicians, nurses, and other leading workers, followed by 270 million people over the age of 50 who suffer from COVID-19.
For workers who have been dragged down by India’s epidemic-damaged health care system, vaccinations have given them hope that life will return to normal. Many explode with pride.
“I am happy to have a vaccine made in India, for which we do not have to depend on others,” said Geeta Devi, a nurse. Devi has been treating patients throughout the epidemic at a hospital in Lucknow, the capital of the central Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his campaign with a nationally aired speech, the first dose was given to a cleaner at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital, New Delhi.
“We are launching the world’s largest vaccination movement, which is showing the world our potential,” Modi said. He urged citizens not to believe “rumors about the safety of vaccines” and to protect them.
It is not clear whether the 70-year-old Modi was vaccinated himself, as other world leaders are trying to prove the safety of the shot. His government has said in the first instance that politicians will not be considered a priority group.
Health officials did not specify what percentage of India’s nearly 1.4 billion people would be targeted by the campaign. But experts say it could be the largest such movement worldwide.
The sheer size has its limitations and some early snacks were identified. For example, the Ministry of Health has reported delays in uploading details of health workers receiving footage to a digital site India uses to monitor vaccines.
At least 165,714 people were shot on Saturday, Health Ministry official Dr Manohar Agnani told an evening conference. The ministry said it aims to vaccinate 100 people each at 3,006 vaccination centers across the country.
News cameras have been injected into hundreds of hospitals, underscoring the hope that vaccinating people will be the first step in recovering from the epidemic that has devastated the lives of many Indians and devastated the country’s economy. India has the second highest number of confirmed cases after the United States, with more than 10.5 million cases. The country has the third highest death toll, at more than 152,000, behind the United States and Brazil.
India approved on January 4 for the emergency use of two vaccines developed by Oxford University and UK-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Astrogeneneca, the other being developed by Indian company Bharat Biotech. Cargo planes flew 16.5 million shots to different Indian cities last week.
But doubts about the effectiveness of the domestic vaccine have created an obstacle to the ambitious plan. Health experts are concerned that the government’s approval of the Bharat Biotech vaccine – without conclusive data showing its effectiveness – could increase vaccine reluctance. At least one state health minister opposed its use.
“The government (makes decisions) that are in a hurry to be popular and do not care about the welfare of the public,” said Dr. S.P. Kalandri said. Kalandri said regulatory approval was urgent and not with the support of science.
In New Delhi, doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, one of the city’s largest restaurants, demanded that the Astrogenene vaccine be substituted for the drugs developed by Bharat Biotech. The hospital’s doctors’ association said many of its members were “slightly apprehensive about the lack of a complete test” for the native vaccine.
“Right now, we don’t want to choose between vaccines,” said Dr Nirmalaya Mohapatra, vice president of the hospital’s Resident Physicians Association.
The Ministry of Health refuted this criticism. It says vaccines are safe and that health workers have no choice but to decide which vaccine is available.
In the wake of the rising global COVID-19 death toll – which topped the 2 million mark on Friday – the clock is ticking to vaccinate as many people as possible. But the campaign is inconsistent.
In rich countries including the United States, Britain, Israel, Canada and Germany, millions of citizens have already been granted some degree of protection by the vaccines developed at revolutionary speeds and authorized for rapid use.
But elsewhere, immune drivers have drifted off the ground. Many experts predict another year of losses and hardship in places like Iran, India, Mexico and Brazil, which account for a quarter of the world’s COVID-19 deaths.
According to the University of Oxford, more than 35 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide.
While most of the COVID-19 vaccine doses have already been discontinued by rich countries, the UN is committed to providing footage to developing parts of the world. Support program COVAX, vaccines, money and logistics are in short supply.
As a result, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Dr. Samia Swaminathan, warned this week that the herd’s immunity – which will require at least 70% of the world’s vaccinated – will be achieved this year.
“Even if it happens in one or two bags, in a few countries, it’s not going to protect people all over the world,” he said.
Biswajit Banerjee, an associate press writer in Lucknow, India, contributed to the report.