says Dr. VK Paul, Member-Health at NITI Aayog by congratulating the people and healthcare workers.
The COVID-19 vaccine drive was launched on January 16, 2021, in India with stepwise manner – initially being available for Health Care Workers (HCWs) only.
Following this, front-line workers – State and Central Police personnel, Civil Defence & Disaster Management Volunteers, Armed Force Personnel, Prison Staff, Revenue workers, Home Guards, Municipal workers, PRI Staff, Railway Protection Force & election Staff and all those who were involved in containment and surveillance were eligible for vaccination from February 2, 2021.
The initiative was gradually extended from March 1, 2021, to cover senior citizens (60 years and above) and over 45 years of age is associated with specified 20 comorbidities followed by all individuals above 45 years of age from April 1.
The COVID-19 vaccination was finally made obtainable for all the majors – above 18 years of age from May 1, 2021. This presented India as the second country after China to achieve the 100-crore milestone.
Transparency of Data
However, India’s vaccination data is open to the world, unlike China (no open-source data) through CoWIN – a multilingual COVID web portal. The portal provides timely updates on the global supply of COVID vaccines by the health ministry and ministry of external affairs.
Covishield (viral vector vaccine) emerged as a champion to drive this national initiative, developed by AstraZeneca-Oxford University and Pune-based Serum Institute being the major producer in India.
On the contrary, Covaxin (inactive viral strain vaccine) was an indigenous accomplishment, that was developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
Both the vaccines are administered in two shots and were approved for emergency use in India on January 3, 2021.
Constant Endeavor to Fight Off the Pandemic
Among the top five states that witnessed the highest number of vaccine doses are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. To celebrate this phenomenal achievement, a series of events have also been lined up.
An Indian pharmaceutical company – Zydus Cadila has now developed the world’s first DNA-based COVID vaccine that was approved on August 20 for individuals above 12 years of age. It is soon expected to hit the markets and ramp up the vaccination drive.