A healthcare worker fills a syringe with a dose of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
India kicked off the “world’s largest” vaccination programme on January 16, to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. Public health authorities hope to inoculate 300 million high-risk people over the next six to eight months. The first to get the vaccine will be 30 million health and other frontline workers, followed by about 270 million people aged over 50 or deemed high-risk.
Two vaccine candidates ‒ the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate known as Covishield in India and Covaxin, indigenously developed by Hyderabad-based company Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research – are being given to beneficiaries, both of which are produced locally.
Beneficiaries receiving Covaxin have also been asked to sign a consent form before being vaccinated since the vaccine “has been allowed by the government in clinical trial mode”. The form also states that receiving the vaccine “does not mean that other precautions related to COVID-19 need not be followed” and that compensation for serious adverse events will be paid by the company if it is proven to be causally related to the vaccine.
In total, more than 1.34 crore doses have been administered to healthcare and frontline workers as of Thursday morning, according to the Union health ministry. The beneficiaries include 65,82,007 healthcare workers (HCWs) (75.5%) who have taken the first dose and 18,60,859 HCWs (63.6%) who have taken the second dose, along with 46,24,181 frontline workers (FLWs) who have taken their first dose. (45.1%).
On Thursday morning, India recorded 16,577 new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The country’s tally of confirmed cases stands at 1,10,63,491. The death toll rose by 120, with 1,56,825 people dying due to the viral infection in the country so far. According to the health ministry, 1,55,986 cases are still active, while 1,07,50,680 people have been cured or discharged or have migrated.
The active caseload has risen above 1.5 lakh, with active cases in the country comprising 1.41% of the total caseload.
Across the world, there have now been over 112 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins University, the global death toll due to COVID-19 stands at 2,497,263.
The US has recorded 28,335,264 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while India is in second place with 11,030,176 cases, followed by Brazil (10,324,463) and the United Kingdom (4,156,703). The US has also recorded the highest death toll, with 505,803 fatalities so far. The death toll has also been high in Brazil (249,957), Mexico (182,815) and India (156,567).
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