On Monday, July 12, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh expressed concern over the slacking pace of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country. He pointed out that 40 lakh doses were administered daily during July 1-10 in comparison to the June 21-30 period where 56 lakh persons were jabbed per day. According to Ramesh, the entire adult population can be vaccinated by December 31 only if a minimum of 86.5 lakh persons are inoculated daily.
He implored upon PM Narendra Modi to make this the single overriding national goal. These remarks come amid the threat of the impending third wave of the novel coronavirus. At present, there are 4,50,899 active novel coronavirus cases in India while 3,00,14,713 patients have recovered and 4,08,764 deaths have been reported.
COVID-19 vaccination in India
Apart from COVISHIELD and COVAXIN, the DCGI accepted the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, paving way for the approval of Sputnik V and Moderna on April 12 and June 29 respectively. Moreover, the Union government declared that those vaccines that have been granted emergency approval for restricted use by USFDA, EMA, UK MHRA, PMDA Japan, or which are listed in WHO (Emergency Use Listing) will be granted emergency use approval in India. In a huge announcement on April 19, the Centre allowed the vaccination of all adults from May 1 onwards.
But, the vaccination drive was adversely affected since May 1 owing to a shortage of doses and the decentralized vaccine procurement policy. Addressing the nation on June 7, PM Modi rolled back this policy and announced that the Centre will procure 75% of the vaccine stock and distribute it to the states for free from June 21. Most importantly, this stock can now be used for all adults and not just those aged above 45. A total of 30,17,21,652 persons have been inoculated whereas 7,26,85,014 of them have received the second dose of the vaccine too.
Meanwhile, Ahmedabad-based pharma company Zydus Cadila has also applied to the DCGI seeking emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D. Poised to be the world's first DNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus, it showed safety and efficacy in a late-stage trial with more than 28,000 persons at 50 centres which include nearly 1000 subjects in the 12-18 age group. Zydus Cadila managing director Dr Sharvil Patel has asserted that 100 million-120 million doses of ZyCov-D will be produced annually.