Inside India’s Covid-19 and vaccination drive plan of action

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On January 16, 2021, India—the world’s largest democracy with a population of 1.38 billion people—kickstarted the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination drive, with 1.9 lakh people vaccinated on Day 1, across 3,351 sessions, involving 16,755 vaccinators. What makes India’s vaccination drive against the novel coronavirus unique is that the sheer size, scale, and meticulous planning of this mammoth exercise, guided by the humanitarian concept of ‘Jan bhagidari’ or people’s participation. The plan is to inoculate 300 million ‘priority population’ within the first two phases by July-August 2021. This includes 30 million healthcare and frontline workers which will be vaccinated within the next three months within the first phase. Inoculating 300 million people within six to seven months is like vaccinating almost the whole population of the US or vaccinating the combined populations of Germany, UK, Italy and France in record time.

India has reported but 20,000 daily cases over the past 10 days and fewer than 300 daily deaths for the last 23 days. That pushed the national recovery rate to a solid 96.58 percent and therefore the case deathrate (CFR) to only 1.4 percent—the lowest globally. The active caseload now’s merely 1.98 percent and daily positivity rate is again low at just 1.8 percent. it’s indeed commendable that despite having a density of population of 455 per square kilometre—amongst the very best within the world—India has done a unprecedented job of reining within the total number of cases at 10.6 million. In sharp contrast, US with a population density of just 36 per square kilometre, has reported a staggering 23.8 million cases and quite double the amount of deaths seen in India.

The Modi government has built a war kitty of two ,360 master trainers, 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators, and 3.7 lakh vaccination team members thus far .

Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin developed with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), are homegrown vaccines that vindicate Primer Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call of ‘Vocal for Local’ and are reflective of the country’s immense innovative and scientific temper.

The Indian government has procured 11 million doses of Covishield at a price of Rs 200 per dose, exclusive of taxes. Of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, the amount is 5.5 million doses, of which 1.65 million doses are being procured freed from cost and therefore the remaining 3.85 million doses are being purchased at a price of Rs 295 per dose. In effect, India’s vaccine rollout isn’t only the foremost important within the world but also the most affordable. The PM-Cares Fund will bear the whole cost of the primary phase. In June 2020, over Rs 2,000 crore was allocated from the PM-Cares fund for the availability of fifty ,000 ‘Made in India’ ventilators to government-run Covid-19 hospitals altogether states and union territories. Out of the 50,000 ventilators, 30,000 were manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited, once more showcasing India’s indigenous manufacturing prowess.

The government’s food security scheme for the needy, called the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKAY), provided free ration to 810 million people, every single month for nine months during a row during the pandemic. this suggests a population 2.5 times the dimensions folks was being fed every single month highlighting the government’s people-centric approach.

Contrast to the policy of obfuscation and apathy followed by China, India showed probity and transparency in taking the Covid-19 challenge head-on. The government’s efforts of building over 116 million toilets under the Clean India or Swachh Bharat mission, making India’s 0.55 million villages open defecation free (ODF) or giving free insurance to 500 million Indians under the Ayushman Bharat scheme over the last 6.5 years, producing over 60 million PPE kits and 150 million N95 masks in 2020, bringing home over 3.9 million stranded Indians from different parts of the world via the Vande Bharat Mission after the outbreak began or extending medical and humanitarian assistance to over 150 countries within the fight against the pandemic, the government’s fight against the novel coronavirus was made easier by the very fact that a humongous effort went into ramping up India’s health infrastructure and making cleanliness how of life. what’s worth mentioning here is that, during the initial days of Covid-19 outbreak, there was just one lab within the country that would undertake Covid-19 tests, but today there are over 2,000 testing laboratories.

The massive vaccine rollout plan has put in situ an end-to-end traceability mechanism with RFID and barcoding to secure and monitor the availability chain, transportation, and distribution right from the manufacturing facility to the time the patient is inoculated. Automated data loggers that monitor storage temperature and transfer messages every three seconds, 24/7, to a central unit under tight surveillance are deployed. The mega immunisation drive may even see high-speed vehicles transporting the vaccines, secured by armed escorts on the surface and highly secure Internet of things (IoT) enabled locking system from the within , to stop theft and counterfeiting.

More importantly, the government’s CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network) app has already registered eight million beneficiaries from the primary priority list. the thought is to make a digital health behemoth. The CoWIN app has two parts—one which will be employed by the beneficiary and therefore the other which will be a backend module to be employed by vaccinators.

If 2020 was a year that tested human will power to survive, 2021 is slated to be the year which will heal, restoring faith within the ability of leaders who are both courageous and compassionate.