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National Vaccination Day 2021: All You Need To Know About Covid Vaccine Drive in India

(Image: Shutterstock)

(Image: Shutterstock)

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, India has emerged as a kingpin in the vaccination drive

National Vaccination Day is observed in India on March 16, every year. Also known as National Immunization Day, this is the day the first dose of Oral Polio Vaccine was given in 1995 in India. The day celebrates the government’s Pulse Polio Campaign, an initiative to eradicate polio from the country. The day marks India’s victory over polio disease. Vaccination is of utmost importance and has over decades secured people from diseases which would otherwise harm humanity. Since the pandemic began, India has recorded the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world after the United States. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, India has emerged as a kingpin in the vaccination drive.

Covid Vaccination Drive in India

In January, India launched its vaccination drive but it was limited to frontline staff and healthcare workers. The government expanded the eligibility criteria from March 1 when the next phase of vaccination to protect senior citizens and people with co-morbidities in the age bracket of 45-59 years was started. The COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary. State-run hospitals and clinics are offering free jabs but if one wants to get vaccinated at private facilities, s/he will have to pay Rs 250 a dose.

Vaccines Used

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The country’s drugs regulator has given a go ahead to two vaccines – one developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University (Covishield) and the other by Indian firm Bharat Biotech (Covaxin). India’s Covaxin, the homegrown government-backed vaccine, has a success rate of 81%, preliminary data from its phase 3 trial shows. Covishield is yet to be used. The country is a vaccine powerhouse, making for 60% of the vaccines globally and is home to half a dozen major manufacturers.

How Many Vaccinated So Far

In India, nearly 30 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far in what is the world’s biggest inoculation drive. The government plans to cover 250 million “priority people” by July-end. According to experts, the drive should be scaled up so the target is not missed. India is also a supplier of the COVID-19 vaccine to neighbouring countries and a host of other nations. In what is being widely described as “vaccine diplomacy”, the country has shipped tens of thousands of free doses of vaccines to several countries.

How To Get One

People can register on the upgraded version of the app CoWIN from app store or visit cowin.gov.in. It will display vaccination centres in the vicinity. A person can opt for a centre and a time slot as per convenience. Alternatively, one can walk without registration, but if the limit for the day is over, the centre can ask them to return the next day. Government hospitals are vaccinating for free. For two doses in private hospitals, recipients have to pay a maximum of Rs 500.