India’s vaccination in world news has taken the center stage. We’re not only setting global standards for fighting corona cases in India but also developing effective vaccines for kids! Recent trends in the country’s vaccination efforts somewhat pave the way for India’s Phase 4 Vaccination and we are entering this phase with a renewed strategy.
Although India’s impressive vaccination total count may have been a huge relief for the worrying public still reeling under the impact of a devastating second wave of the pandemic, there still remain several questions left unanswered. Is vaccination enough to keep corona cases in check? Is booster dose necessary? Are vaccines for ages 15-18 safe? Are COVID-related restrictions necessary worldwide?
Read more to find out all that you need to know about India’s new vaccination drive.
Want to know what vaccine is being given in India? Read Are Vaccine Cocktails More Effective? Booster Dose 2022
India’s New Vaccination Drive – Phase 4
With a total population of over 130-crore people, India had to be one of the toughest countries to vaccinate. However, government authorities have done a wonderful job in promoting widespread COVID vaccination since January 2021.
As of 12th February 2022, India vaccination total count stands at 172 crore administered doses. Around 74.8 crore people are fully vaccinated (received 2 doses) which accounts for 54.2% of the Indian population currently eligible for vaccination.
Constant efforts in India’s new vaccination drive are also accompanied with updated regulations for kids, particularly those between the ages of 15-18.
India’s indigenous vaccine ‘Covaxin’ produced by Bharat Biotech was approved for administration to children between the ages of 15 and 18 in January 2022. Many schools across the country are reportedly started administering Covaxin doses to their eligible students now.
The Government of India is also keen on starting COVID vaccination for children in the age groups of 5-15 very soon. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has recently issued statements that indicate that the government is awaiting approval of its trusted scientific experts for rolling out the new vaccination drive.
As of 12th February 2022, close to 6.5 crore doses have been administered to children between 15-18.
Lastly, India’s Phase 4 Vaccination also includes booster doses for the elderly population with prior approval from their doctors. The government is currently calling them “precaution doses” to improve the aged population’s resistance against COVID-19.
Is Booster Dose Necessary?
All the above efforts at increasing the pace of India’s vaccination drive bring us to this one question: is booster dose necessary for everyone?
While there is certainly a global push for booster doses in many high-income countries like the USA, we are also seeing an opposite trend like that of Boris Johnson’s approach in the UK. In early January 2022, Johnson formally announced the lifting of nearly all COVID-19 restrictions.
According to Boris Johnson’s approach, the world has to be “cautiously optimistic” and “live with the virus” going forward instead of imposing any further lockdowns.
With this, the Boris Johnson government officially announced the end of compulsory self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 and removed mandatory masking rules.
While many people have lauded the leader for braving through the pandemic, scientists have raised considerable concerns about the seemingly careless approach.
The Indian government is still armed with a defensive approach against COVID-19. Increased focus on “precaution doses” and vaccination below 18 continue to be on the government’s list of priorities.
Vaccine Safety: Is Covaxin safe?
India’s vaccination drive has always seen a visible lack of assuredness in the effectiveness and safety of Covaxin. With the recent introduction of Covaxin for 15-18 age groups, parents have shown increasing concerns for children’s safety.
This may be attributable to the delayed approval of Covaxin by the World Health Organization and earlier restrictions on international travel for individuals vaccinated with Covaxin.
However, official data of clinical trials shows Covaxin to be highly effective and safe.
Reputed medical journal Lancet claims that Phase 3 data of Covaxin shows a 93.4% efficacy rate in severe symptomatic cases and 63.6% protection in asymptomatic cases. No significant adverse effects were found after vaccination.
It is always advisable to base one’s decisions on official records and data. Don’t be easily influenced by hearsay! Stay updated with the recent trends in India’s new vaccination drive to keep you and your loved ones safe.
India has come a long way in its resolute fight against COVID-19. With the country entering its third year of dealing with the pandemic, our COVID strategy is slowly evolving with the times.
There are renewed efforts at countering COVID-19 with India’s Phase 4 vaccination drive, booster doses for the elderly and reduced worry about COVID in children’s cases. Vaccines for children from the age of 5-18 will now soon be available for administration.
With the third wave of COVID-19 almost behind us, we are left to see the long-term impact of the pandemic in the following years to come.
Stay aware and stay vigilant about healthcare updates in India to know more about India’s continued battle against upcoming challenges.
The Author :
Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi