India’s Covid Vaccination Campaign Reaches 1 Billion Doses
India celebrated on Thursday having administered a billion doses of the Covid vaccine, relying on local manufacturing after devastating early stumbles in its response to the pandemic.
Yet the country still has a long way to go to fully immunize its population: only 30 percent of India’s 900 million people eligible for vaccination have received two doses.
The billion-dose stage represented a turnaround in a vaccination campaign that got off to a slow start, as India’s ruling party prioritized elections and adopted a lax stance in the fight against the virus, continuing to ” organize overcrowded political rallies and allow religious festivals to be held. even when cases have increased.
âGratitude to our doctors, nurses and everyone who worked to achieve this feat,â Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. on Twitter. More than 70 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to government figures. India administers the second dose 12 to 16 weeks after the first.
More than 450,000 people have died from Covid in India, according to government data which many experts say greatly understates the true toll. India’s second wave earlier this year resulted in a shortage of medical care, oxygen and hospital beds.
But the worst of the pandemic appears to be over, with India reporting around 15,000 new cases per day, from a recorded peak of over 400,000.
While other countries have struggled to get enough doses to immunize their populations, India’s massive vaccination campaign has been made possible by domestic manufacturing capacity. The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, provided more than 80 percent of the doses administered in the country.
What to know about Covid-19 booster injections
The FDA has cleared booster shots for millions of recipients of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna beneficiaries who are eligible for a recall include people 65 years of age and older and young adults at high risk of severe Covid-19 due to medical conditions or their workplace. Eligible Pfizer and Moderna beneficiaries may receive a booster at least six months after their second dose. All Johnson & Johnson recipients will be eligible for a second injection at least two months after the first.
Yes. The FDA has updated its clearances to allow medical providers to boost people with a different vaccine than the one they originally received, a strategy known as “mix and match.” Whether you have received Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer-BioNTech, you may receive a booster of any other vaccine. Regulators have not recommended any vaccine over another as a booster. They have also remained silent on whether it is best to stick to the same vaccine when possible.
The CDC said the conditions that qualify a person for a booster shot include: hypertension and heart disease; diabetes or obesity; cancer or blood disorders; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; dementia and some disabilities. Pregnant women and current and former smokers are also eligible.
The FDA has cleared the boosters for workers whose work puts them at high risk of exposure to potentially infectious people. The CDC says this group includes: emergency medical workers; education workers; food and agricultural workers; manufacturing workers; correctional workers; workers in the US postal service; public transport workers; employees of grocery stores.
Yes. The CDC says the Covid vaccine can be given regardless of the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacy websites allow people to schedule a flu shot along with a booster dose.
The demand for vaccines in India after the devastating second wave was such that the Serum Institute fell short of its commitments to provide vaccines to the poorest countries. But as India’s situation stabilizes, vaccine exports from India – seen as crucial to global efforts – have slowly picked up.
The pandemic’s toll on India’s already sluggish economy, however, will take years to reverse.
In other news from around the world:
Melbourne, Australia, emerged from its 78-day lockdown late Thursday night, after the state of Victoria passed the milestone of 70% of the eligible population fully vaccinated against Covid, although the state’s cases are still on the rise. Melbourne has spent more time under heavy virus restrictions than any other in the world, with 262 days of lockdown since March 2020.
Bulgaria, which is grappling with record coronavirus cases and rising deaths and has the lowest vaccination rate of any country in the EU, has started requiring residents to show proof of vaccination to eat in restaurants, going to the movies and entering malls from Thursday. “The situation is critical,” Acting Health Minister Dr Stoycho Katsarov said in a television interview on Wednesday. “The nation is facing enormous difficulties and most people cannot even measure the extent of the calamity.”
Many Caribbean countries are reporting large increases in known cases of the coronavirus, World Health Organization officials warned on Wednesday. Many Caribbean countries have had difficulty with immunization efforts, both due to difficulty in obtaining doses and widespread public reluctance. Reports of new cases have increased by 40% over the past week in the Dominican Republic and Barbados, and cases are also on the rise in Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Martin, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla and the Cayman Islands.
Sweden has extended its hiatus from Moderna’s Covid vaccine for people aged 30 and under beyond December 1, over fears of rare heart-related side effects, the country’s public health agency said on Thursday, according to Reuters. The agency also said it would remove the recommendation to test fully vaccinated people, even if they have symptoms, because the vaccine was so effective in preventing serious illness and the spread of infection.
Singapore Wednesday, extended social restrictions for about a month to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reported, in a bid to ease pressure on the healthcare system amid a spike in infections that thwarted the nascent reopening from the country. The Ministry of Health recorded 18 new deaths from Covid on Wednesday, the highest since the start of the pandemic.