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Showing posts with the label Pandemic Response

COVID-19 Vaccination Drive Begins In India!

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The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination drive is all set to start across India from tomorrow, Saturday, the 16 th of January 2021. As was decided and enumerated much earlier, during this first phase of vaccination drive around 30 million health sector and frontline workers will be getting the jabs of the vaccines against the novel Coronavirus, namely the Oxford’s Indian version Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and the fully indigenous Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech.   Jabs are to be administered from tomorrow to around 10 million doctors and healthcare workers, and then to cover around 20 million frontline workers during this initial phase. Next, around 270 million of people over the age of fifty and people with comorbidities are to be covered. The Government of India has already procured and dispatched 11 million doses of Covishield and 5.5 million doses of Covaxin, and the inoculation drive will be totally free of cost in this first phase with the Go

Day 2, 2021: India Gets The Second COVID-19 Vaccine, Covaxin!

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On the second day of the New Year 2021 India has got the second COVID-19 vaccine, the totally home-developed Covaxin. The expert panel on vaccines or the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has today approved Covaxin for restricted emergency use authorization in the country after a marathon meeting ranging over several hours. With the vaccination dry run or the mock inoculation trials starting across the country from today India now has two COVID-19 vaccines: Covishield, approved yesterday, has over 50 million doses ready while Covaxin is believed to have around 10 million doses ready as India prepares for the world’s largest vaccination drive for 300 million people in the first phase. However, no marketing rights have so far been given to any of them the as the Government of India is set to procure the vaccines to lead the mass vaccination drive. Vaccination for the health and frontline workers has already been made free by the Government. Th

NY Day Gift: India Gets The First COVID-19 Vaccine, Covishield!

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Photo: jagran.com The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) under the Indian regulator, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), has today recommended Covishield, COVID-19 vaccine Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Indian version manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India (SII), for emergency use in the country, although conditionally. Now, the final approval of the DCGI is awaited which is almost a formality, because the regulator would not possibly ask for more data or do more analysis. Therefore, on this New Year Day-2021 it is well-nigh certain that India has finally got its first COVID-19 vaccine. This is more significant in view of the fact that a pan-India dry run of vaccination is being planned tomorrow, the 2 nd of January. In fact, the good news has been expected since the 30 th of December 2020 on which day the United Kingdom regulator approved the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the scientists of Oxford University for

Christmas, NY Day And The Mutant Coronavirus: Just Pray!

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A few vaccines had arrived and vaccination started in several countries including the US and in Europe with many others including India booking millions of doses; however, an incredible feat of humankind notwithstanding the cheer was short-lived as a mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 had started rampaging through United Kingdom, parts of other European countries and South Africa, and to some extent Australia. It is common knowledge that any virus surely undergoes mutation over time, putting up many variants or strains to challenge the human wisdom and efforts. In fact, about 17 strains of the novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 have already been detected in the process of fighting it, and this particular variant noticed in UK was also detected in September this year. But the problem is that, this particular mutant has started spreading at spectacular speed almost choking the health facilities of UK in particular. The UK government had declared that this virus is about 70% more contagious than the

COVID-19 Vs Vaccines: Contest Of The Millennium?

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Photo: bbc.com The decisive (or is it?) war against the COVID-19 pandemic has broken out with vaccines arriving on the scene to combat the deadly virus about which humankind knew nothing as late as January-February 2020. United Kingdom as we mentioned in an earlier post became the first country to officially approve a vaccine with Bahrain joining in too as per latest news reports. The regulatory authority of UK approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use authorization last week, and vaccination is to start in the country from Tuesday, the 8 th of December 2020. Meanwhile Russia has already started mass vaccination from today with the first registered vaccine of the world, Sputnik V. The US FDA is set to give approval anytime now to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. All of these three vaccines have shown efficacy of over 90% for all age groups.   Amid the spree of advance booking by various countries worldwide Pfizer-BioNTech has applied to the Indian regulator DCGI (Dru

COVID-19 Vaccine News: Arrival Before Time?

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  As per the reports available then we had maintained in our earlier post that the leading COVID-19 vaccine of the world Pfizer-BioNTech with a claimed efficacy of 95% was going to apply for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by mid-December and Moderna vaccine a few days later. However, with the rush for the first usable vaccine and the people of the worst-hit USA desperate for a vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech had already applied for EUA with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in US, and following it up also applied for the European regulator, European Medicines Agency (EMA). In fact, United Kingdom has already placed orders for 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and it is likely to give approval in a matter of days now in which case UK could be the very first country in the world to officially approve a COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA is likely to examine Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine data by 10 th December.   Moderna, the second leading vaccine being produced in the US, had said that it wou

India Fights COVID-19: Vaccine The Only Solution?

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India has been under lockdown since 25 th March 2020, and some vestiges of that still linger in containment zones or in terms of some restrictions still continuing. However, we must ask the question here as to for exactly how long the lockdown had been implemented effectively in the country. Unfortunately, the answer we get says that it’s only for about a month. How? Because, from late April 2020 the problem of the migrant workers burst into the streets, and special trains had to be run for them from May which led to introduction of other trains too for other stranded people within the country. Once the trains were opened up immense pressure led to the reopening domestic flights in the same month.   Therefore, compromises were made within one month of lockdown enforcement. Besides, India has some other crucial realities: political propaganda and political opposition that meant rallies or protests were held regularly throughout; once the political leaders are out the media persons

The COVID-19 Vaccine Countdown!

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  Experts say that while the novel Coronavirus that hit planet earth in December 2019 created an unprecedented crisis for humankind the response to it by researchers, medical scientists and pharmaceutical companies in trying to discover a vaccine is also unprecedented. Under normal circumstances the process of discovering, testing and producing a vaccine takes from 5 years to 10 years thanks to the high failure rate associated with it. Therefore, the probability of having an effective COVID-19 vaccine within a year of the pandemic invasion is incredible news that speaks volumes about the non-stop efforts, dedication, round-the-clock supervision, utilization of special funds and global coordination put into it. As per the World Health Organization, at present there are nearly 200 vaccine candidates out of which 44 are in various stages of human clinical trials, and a few are about to be approved by the regulators. This would indeed be another crowing glory of the human quest should a sa

A Few Concerns As India Cross 9 Million COVID-19 Cases!

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India has crossed the 9 million COVID-19 cases mark today, taking 22 days for the last million increase as against 19 days for the previous millon cases. The recovery rate has almost reached 94% with active cases falling below 4,50,000. A few days back daily new cases fell below the 30,000 mark that was consistent only for two days, and new additions had again picked up. In the last twenty four hours total number of new cases was at 45, 882. Total deaths that started falling below 500 also picked up, and for the last twenty four hours 584 Coronavirus patients had died which is a bit worrying despite the fatality rate consistently at around 1.5%.  The increased numbers of daily new cases and daily deaths are largely due to record spikes in Delhi and high-volume numbers in Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Haryana. In states like Gujarat, Manipur and a few others the renewed spikes have raised a concern. In

Pandemic Response: Taking Precaution Is Not Out Of Fear Or Negativity!

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  Apart from the still fluctuating or increasing number of people testing COVID-19 positive across the Indian states, primarily Delhi and a few others, there has also been a growth of a sense of ‘false positivity’ in the response of the people to the pandemic. We had seen in an earlier piece about that surge of defiance in citizens to celebrate Diwali the usual normal way. This ‘surge of defiance’ is somewhat related to what we have said about that sense of false positivity. After more than eight months of paying subservience to the sticky virus people now seem to say and act accordingly, ‘No, enough is enough! No more slavery to the goddamned virus! We’ll do now whatever we feel like. We are least likely to be infected as we are positive about it, and if we do get infected, let it be!’   If fellow citizens around them insist on observing the norms like at least wearing masks they rule it out scornfully, ‘Don’t be scared, guys! Be positive, nothing will happen to you!’ If an elder

Pandemic Response: Restive Public, Diwali Violations And Vaccine Solace!

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  As the loud bursts of firecrackers reach a crescendo the discerning law-abiding citizens, particularly the elderly ones sticking to the stay-at-home doctrine, wonder loudly too, ‘What the heck is happening, and how?’ Yes, valid question: the state, one of many Indian states, imposed a complete ban on firecrackers and fireworks from 9 th November to 30 th November 2020 asking citizens to observe Diwali, the biggest festival of India, by lighting earthen or electric lamps only, in view of the pandemic that can accelerate again due to increased pollution. In the nation’s capital Delhi, apart from the complete government-ban the National Green Tribunal also totally prohibited use or sale of firecrackers making these punishable offences. Yet, on the Diwali night of 14 th November 2020 all caution ended up in smoke as most of the city folks celebrated with fireworks in brazen defiance. How they managed to get the abundant supplies of crackers and accessories is a question that is better