Nationwide vaccination drive begins!

The long battle against coronavirus starts to see an end as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a vaccination drive at 10.30 am. A total of 3,006 vaccination centres across all states and union territories will be virtually connected and with 100 beneficiaries getting the shots at each site on the first day. After elaborate dry runs, India joins a select group of countries today. Such a vaccination drive at such a massive scale was never conducted in history. There are over 100 countries having less than 3 crore population and India is administering vaccination to 3 crore people in the first phase only.
Three lakh frontline healthcare workers are expected to be covered at 3,006 sites across all states and UTs on the first day itself. The number of operational vaccination session sites is to be increased in a progressive manner. The full initial procurement of 1.65 crore doses of the Covishield and Covaxin vaccines have been flown across the country for the first phase, with a comprehensive factsheet and guidelines. Vaccines have been allotted to states and UTs based on their healthcare workers’ data; the cost will be borne by the Centre. A 24x7 call centre has been set up for all inoculation-related queries.
Amid the general atmosphere of optimism in India over the commencement of the vaccination, there is growing global concern over the new coronavirus variant detected in South America. Like the variants first spotted in the UK and South Africa, it is thought that the Brazil variant could be more contagious. In Europe, strict restrictions are again in place in several countries as the pandemic continues to bare its fangs. This even as a World Health Organisation team has been allowed access to Wuhan by China in the hunt for clues to the origin of the pandemic, though there is a huge question mark over how much it will be able to achieve. As India begins a new chapter, the list of do’s and don’ts essentially remains the same, and any laxity could have serious consequences.
Just because a vaccine has arrived does not mean the virus has gone. The total recovered cases stand at 10,162,738, as declared on Friday, India's total COVID-19 active caseload continues to manifest a sustained downward movement and has dropped to 2.13 lakh comprising just 2.03 per cent of the country's total infections.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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