Friday, Jan 15, 2021 06:00 [IST]
Last Update: Friday, Jan 15, 2021 00:28 [IST]
Between despair and hope
The first batch of Covaxin vaccine against Covid-19 was dispatched from Hyderabad by manufacturer Bharat Biotech Wednesday, flown to 11 cities across the country. Along with the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, which was shipped out Tuesday, Covaxin will be part of the government’s mass vaccination programme against Covid-19 starting Friday.
Sikkim on Wednesday received its first batch of 1,250 vials of Covishield vaccine. The vaccine has been stored in a walk-in cooler at the cold chain section in the STNM Hospital complex in Gangtok. The vaccination programme will begin on January 16 at the STNM Hospital and the West District hospital at Gyalshing with the frontline health workers being the first recipients.
According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities. The cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers will be borne by the central government, officials had said. As many as 3 lakh frontline healthcare workers will be inoculated at 2,934 sites across India on day one of the massive nationwide Covid-19 inoculation drive, which is set to begin on 16 January.
What is assuring is that each vaccination session will cater to a maximum of 100 beneficiaries and the Union Health Ministry has advised states not to organise "unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day". States have been advised to organise vaccination sessions taking into account 10% reserve/wastage doses and an average of 100 vaccinations per session each day," the health ministry said. Therefore, any undue haste on the part of states to organize unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day is not advised, the ministry said on Wednesday. It also said that the states and Union Territories have also been advised to increase the number of Covid-19 vaccination session sites that would be operational every day in a progressive manner as the vaccination process stabilizes and moves forward. States have also been asked to making arrangements to deal with any Covid-19 vaccine-related side effects as one of the measures towards safe vaccine delivery.
The fight against Covid-19 is possibly entering its final stages and sure enough, we cannot be choosy. The government on Tuesday hinted that vaccine recipients, for now, will not have the option to choose from the two vaccines Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech that have been approved for restricted emergency use in the country. Naysayers will continue to question the effectiveness and safety of the two vaccines. Now it’s entirely up to the people to decide whether you would want that one jab in the arm or not.