How Coronavirus Program is taking place in India: When will it be available for common people?
In the year 2020, the world witnessed an unprecedented virus COVID-19 also known as SARS-CoV-2. People all across the world adapted to a new normal way of living by being at home under a complete lockdown restricting their movements out of their houses. It’s been more than a year and finally vaccine has been made. The vaccines have finally rolled for clinical trials and tests.
The date for the coronavirus vaccination program has officially been announced in India – 16 January 2021. After several training sessions and two pan India mock drills, the Indian government finally announced the date of the drive which is regarded as the world’s most significant Coronavirus Vaccination Program.
Within a week, India has transported thousands of free doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the neighbouring countries, commonly mentioned as “vaccine diplomacy” to the world’s largest immunisation drive.
The head of Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr Balram Bhargava highlighted the distinct difference between the authorisation given to Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) and that of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK. (Covishield). Covaxin will only be considered for ‘Clinical Trials’ where the risk and the side effects will be checked.
Here are a few important questions to keep in mind
“Is the vaccine publicly safe enough?
How many Vaccines are permitted a Clinical Trial?
Are the necessary logistics taken into consideration and particularly the impact that everything will have on the Healthcare System of India?”
Let us find answers to some of our questions.
How many Vaccines have received permission for the clinical trial?
Covishield (vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca developed) and Covaxin, made locally by pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech have received the green light from India’s drug regulator.
In the coming weeks, Pfizer and Sputnik-V from Russia are likely to be authorised for use in India. The government is planning to embark on one of the largest immunisation programmes, by providing the expected vaccination to nearly 3 crore-health and front-line staff for now.
It is an inactive pathogenic vaccine that consists of dead coronaviruses and is safe and effective to be used in the body. A Coronavirus sample isolated by the Indian Institute of Virology was used by Bharat Biotech for this vaccine.
When the vaccine was monitored immune cells were still able to recognise the deadly virus when delivered into the body and allowed the immune system to develop antibodies against the virus. There are two doses of this vaccine that needs to be given four weeks apart. The vaccine will be kept between 2C and 8C.
Bharat Biotech says that their company is aiming to stockpile 20 million Covaxin doses in stock and is planning to make 700 million Covaxin doses out of its four facilities by the end of the year in two cities.
The vaccine Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covidshield) is produced locally by The Serum Institute in India. The Serum Institute in India is considered as the largest producer of vaccines in the world. The company is creating more than 50 million doses every month.
This vaccine is made up of a weakened form of a common cold virus called adenovirus, this virus is obtained from Chimpanzees. It has changed and modified to look more like coronavirus. Though it cannot infect humans and spread illness.
If a person is injected with this vaccine, their immune system will stimulate making antibodies which help to combat and fight the pathogens of the coronavirus.
The injection is administered in four and 12 weeks apart in two doses. It can be stored at a temperature of 2C to 8C in a domestic refrigerator with the prevailing health care environment that exists in India.
Effectiveness of vaccines?
India’s General Drug Controller VG Somani said Bharat Covaxin Biotech was “safe and strongly immune.” The vaccine is still at clinical trials in India and the efficiency rate has yet not been made public.
About 800 subjects were tested in phase 1 and phase 2 of clinical trials. The findings of the trial indicate that the immunity vaccine is healthy and effective. In India, approx 25,800 volunteers were subjected to a Phase 3 efficiency study and 22,500 people have been vaccinated across the country. As of now, the vaccine is found to be safe.
The clinical trials of this international vaccine have shown efficacy to be 90 per cent when the patients received a partial and then a complete full dosage. However, the half-dose, a full-dose suggestion was not approved with enough clarification.
Unreleased data suggest that the overall efficiency of vaccines improves with a longer duration of a gap between the first and second dosage. A part of a subset provided with the vaccine found the vaccine to be 70% effective after the first dose.
The vaccine makers from India, Serum Institute (SII) claim that the Covishield vaccine is “extremely effective” and is supported by phase III test data from Brazil and the UK. . The clinical trials are kept three-phased to see if the vaccine stimulates good immune function and inadmissible side-effects.
The Patients’ Rights Group of All India Drug Action Network said, their authorization has been rushed because the manufacturers of the vaccine have not conducted and completed the study of vaccines on Indians.
What are the possible side effects once the vaccination is done?
A person who has been injected with the COVID-19 vaccine may experience short term flu-like symptoms and other side effects:
- Pain at the site of the injection.
- Temporary swelling at the site of the injection.
- Redness, itching and bruises at the site where the injection is given.
- Tiredness and fatigue.
- Pain in muscles and headache
- Mild fever.
After the second dose of the vaccine, the adverse side effects can be seen at a greater level. As the immunity response of the body will be intensified.
Anybody with a background of reaction or allergies or other injectable drugs to the vaccine should inform the healthcare professional before taking the vaccine.
Which countries are signing up for India’s vaccines?
The first dosage of the vaccine has already been sent to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles. Till now, the vaccine has been distributed in form of ‘gifts’ and others according to trade agreements signed between the nations.
India is also preparing and is planning to send the second dosage to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius. Once the regulatory clearance from these countries is cleared and passed. The vaccine has been also approved for the commercial exports and sales to Brazil. The Foreign Minister further said that India would keep supplying the vaccines to its neighbouring countries and all over the world after taking into consideration the domestic specifications, international requirements and agreements.
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