India — India has fully vaccinated 0.25% of its nearly one million health care workers against Covid-19, shows latest data from the Union ministry of health and family welfare released on Sunday.
An estimated 92,61,227 health care workers were identified by the government to be vaccinated against Covid-19 under the national immunisation drive on priority, of which 23,628 have completed the two-dose regimen as per the provisional data available till Sunday morning.
Among those health care workers who were vaccinated on January 16, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Covid-19 vaccination drive across the country, and were eligible to receive the second dose on Saturday, at least 10% have been fully vaccinated so far.
A total of 2,24,301 beneficiaries were vaccinated on Day 1 of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive, of which 23,628 were vaccinated on Saturday as government began administering the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in India. “We expect the numbers to pick pace once the weekend gets over. There is a window of 4 to 8 weeks for giving the second dose but sooner the dose is taken the better it is,” said Dr NK Arora, National Task Force on Covid-19 related initiatives.
The national drugs regulator, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has permitted two Covid-19 vaccines for use in India, and both the vaccines have a two-dose regimen.
“The neutralising antibodies against the virus start developing at least two weeks aftertaking the second shot. It is proven beyond any doubt that vaccination imparts protection against Covid-19, and is the only way to achieve vaccine derived herd immunity against the disease,” said Dr GC Khilnani, former head, pulmonology and sleep medicine department, New Delhi’s AIIMS.
“By April-May there are likely to be more Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in India, which will further boost the pace of vaccination. It will also help build vaccine confidence,” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, public health expert, and, founder, Public Health Foundation of India.
Meanwhile, India, for now, is not looking at reviewing the gap between the two vaccine doses of SII’s Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
“The change in interval is not yet warranted,” said Dr Samiran Panda, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases division at the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Dr Panda is also one of the members of the national task force on Covid-19 related matters.
In all, 8.2 million beneficiaries have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in the country so far, the health ministry in a statement.