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COVID-19 vaccination gaining pace

More than 10 crore people vaccinated in India, Rajasthan stands second in country.

P Srinivasan I [email protected]

More than 11 crore people have been vaccinated for coronavirus vaccines in India. Maharashtra stands on first position in vaccination with more than 1.05 crore vaccines administered to people including more than 95 lakh as first dose and more than 10 lakh as second dose.

Rajasthan has become the second state following Maharashtra in administering more than 1 crore vaccines including more than 89.69 lakh and more than 12.15 lakh as first and second doses respectively.

Rajasthan Health Minister Dr Raghu Sharma on this achievement congratulated the health personnel of the State. He also appealed to people of the State aged 45 years and above to get vaccinated.

He said that vaccines are being administered at 3380 government and 188 private sites in the state. The state has received a total of 1,,11,40,860 coronavirus vaccines till April 11 and on April 12 an additional 4 lakh doses on Sunday morning.

It is to be mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi while holding a virtual conference with chief ministers on April 8 asked to observe ‘Tika Utsav’ (vaccination festival) from April 11 to 14. The tika utsav was a four-day exercise starting from April 11, the birth anniversary of social activist Jyotiba Phule and concluding on April 14, the birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar, to speed up the ongoing vaccination drive and to get maximum people vaccinated with coronavirus vaccines.

It is to be mentioned that currently two vaccines are being used in India namely Covishield, the Oxford University-AstraZeneca’s vaccine that is manufactured in India by Serum Institute of India (SII) at Pune and the second vaccine is Covaxin manufactured in India by Bharat Biotech International Limited at Hyderabad.

Rajasthan Chief Minister after Modi’s call to observe Tika Utsav tweeted that many states are not having vaccines and in such a situation how can the Vaccination Festival be observed? He further mentioned that till April 6, Rajasthan had received 1,07,40,860 covid vaccines from the centre, of which 2,15,180 vaccines were made available to the army. More than 91.55 lakh doses were used till April 8 and around 4.35 lakh got wasted, which is half of the centre’s estimation of 10% wastage. On an average 5.17 lakh vaccines were being administered daily from April 5 to 8 and there were only 9.70 lakh doses left and the next consignment of  around 4 lakh vaccines is expected on Sunday and vaccination has to be stopped in a few districts.

Many States including Rajasthan has demanded Prime Minister Modi to allow vaccination of 18 years and above so that young people are also protected from coronavirus and the young people are more vulnerable as they have to move out for education, jobs etc.

Meanwhile corona cases are increasing in India. In the last 24 hours till April 13, there were 161736 cases recorded in the country as per Union Health Ministry. The main reason for surge in cases is carelessness by people who are not following the covid guidelines including not wearing masks or not wearing it properly and not maintaining social distance.

Despite rise in cases, the election rallies are going at full pace. Huge gatherings of people at rallies are being ignored by the Government itself, but at the same time the government is also imposing penalties on violation of covid protocols.

A few states have imposed few restrictions such as night curfew, weekend lockdowns, closing religious places, limiting devotees at a few temples, declaring micro containment zones etc, but no government is taking any strict decision of lockdown. Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot had clearly told the centre to take a decision in regard to lockdown or restrictions that can be implemented across the country instead of asking the state heads to take decisions on their level.

Gehlot said that the government will be forced to take strict steps if people do not change their careless behaviour and do not follow the health protocols. Rajasthan has witnessed more than 5500 cases on April 12. He said that during corona in last year, all sections of the society had extended cooperation to the government in following all health rules and other guidelines and once again there is need of cooperation from all people to arrest the surge of coronavirus cases in the State.

The experts have suggested the Rajasthan government to reduce the gathering in marriage and other social functions to 50; impose night curfew from 6pm to 6am; prohibit taking our processions, rallies, organizing religious fairs etc in rural and urban areas; reduce the presence of employees to 75% in private offices like in government offices; permit only take-away at restaurants; ban classes at coaching institutes; allow students to schools and education institutions only to appear in examinations and reduce the passengers in buses and other public transport to 50%.

The Rajasthan government has decided to once again make state war room and district level control room at all district functional including 181 helpline for 24 hours; to increasing the testing at places where the positivity rate is more than 5%; taking services of NCC, NSS, Scouts and Guides as volunteers to aware people to follow the health protocols; to increase the action by joint teams on violation of covid protocols and to strengthen the check posts made to check RT-PCR test report of people coming from neighbouring districts and other states. The number of sampling has been increased to 55,000 per day in the state, which will be increased to 1 lakh by the end of April.

It is also to be mentioned that increasing corona cases has forced migrant labourers to go back to their homes. There is a rush of such migrant labourers in many metro cities, who are thronging the railway stations and bus stands expecting another lockdown. During the lockdown last year, many migrant labourers got caught and had a miserable journey back to their homes. Many had walked hundreds of kilometres to their homes. 

Russian Vaccine – Sputnik V

The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) gave its approval on April 13 to use Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use. This will be the third vaccine for COVID-19 in India after Covishield and Covaxin.  

Vaccination of Sputnik V is expected from April end or early May. The Russian vaccine has been approved for use in 59 countries so far.

The Russian developers have tied with several Indian pharmaceutical companies to manufacture more than 850 million doses a year. This vaccine is recommended for people who are 18 years and above.

Two doses of 0.5ml of Sputnik will be administered in a gap of 21 days, while a gap of 6- 8 weeks is required between two doses of Covishield and 28 days between two doses of Covaxin. The vaccine has to be stored at minus 18 degree Celsius

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