New Delhi: -The Union government has taken a major decision to expedite the process of Corona vaccination and reduce the rush at the vaccination centres. According to the new decision, the corona vaccination centres will operate 24X7, on all seven days of the week. Therefore, now citizens can choose a convenient time for vaccination on the Cowin portal. From the 1st of March, vaccination of the senior citizens has been started in the country. This decision taken against this background becomes significant.
In the first phase, doctors, health workers, frontline workers and police officers were vaccinated. In the second phase of the vaccination drive, vaccination of common people has been undertaken. But the vaccination is being done only for senior citizens and citizens above the age of 45 with comorbidities. The government has initiated steps to expedite the process after starting vaccination for the common people. The first step taken is the abolition of time restrictions.
The Corona vaccine was being administered only between 9 am and 5 pm on working days. There is this provision to go to the Cowin portal and select a suitable time and date, but large crowds are seen converging at the vaccination centres due to the timing restrictions. Provision has been made to administer the vaccine in private hospitals to reduce the pressure on the health agencies. According to this, one can get the vaccine from a private hospital at Rs 250 for one dose, meaning Rs 500 for the two doses of the vaccine, by registering on the Cowin portal. But there are time restrictions even on these facilities. Therefore, the government has taken this major decision to remove the timing restriction. But the decision is with the hospitals as to how long would they be operating. The health ministry has informed that the hospitals can decide the timing based on their capacity, inform the state government and complete the formalities. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan informed that the government had removed all the conditions put to the private hospitals for opening a vaccination centre.
Moreover, the government has given permission even to reschedule the vaccine doses. The vaccines used in the drive are Covishield, developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca and Covaxin, developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech. Both the vaccines need two doses, which are 28 days apart.
If a person is not in the same town for the second dose, for some reason, then the person is allowed to reschedule his dose. According to this, the person can go to the Cowin app and change the location in the action column in front of his name. But it is necessary to change the location at least one day in advance. The health department has clarified that it will be ensured that the person receives the second dose of the vaccine he has taken the first dose of.
Soon, the nasal Corona vaccine will be available. Bharat Biotech, the company that has developed Covaxin, has successfully developed a vaccine for nasal administration. Tests of the nasal version will start in the next week. It is reported that Bharat Biotech has sent a proposal in this respect to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Bharat Biotech has requested permission for the first and second phase of trials of the nasal vaccine. Bharat Biotech has developed this nasal vaccine in collaboration with Washington University. Most importantly, only a single dose of this vaccine has to be administered. The immunity against the Coronavirus will be attained in this single dose. Currently, two injectable doses of any vaccine are necessary for immunity to build. Once the nasal version is available, the citizens will be relieved of taking injections.
Meanwhile, the third phase of Covaxin trials has been completed by Bharat Biotech. 25,800 volunteers participated in these trials. This is the highest number of participants in a Corona vaccine clinical trial in India to date. Covaxin emerged extremely strong in these trials. The company claimed that this vaccine had been found effective even against the new strain found in the United Kingdom. Therefore, this is considered to be a major success for the vaccine. The Union government allowed the use of Covaxin at the time when the third phase of trials was still being conducted.