When India began vaccination with the giant coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, the hospital was adorned with flowers and a politician planted trees. He desperately wanted to end the pandemic that killed 150,000 people.
India aims to vaccinate about 300 million of the 1.3 billion people by July. This corresponds to almost the entire population of the United States. Frontline workers, people over the age of 50, and those who appear to be at high risk are the first to line up.
On the first day, about 300,000 people were scheduled to be vaccinated against Covishield, which was developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Indian Serum Institute or homemade covaxin.
Covacin is still in clinical trials and Saturday’s recipients had to sign a consent form stating that “clinical effects have not yet been established.”
However, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the vaccination program, he urged people to reject “promotion and rumors” about indigenous vaccines.
“The world has great confidence in Indian scientists and vaccine production capacity,” 70-year-old Modi said in a video message.
Within the 15,000-bed field hospital in Mumbai, authorities will set up 15 vaccination booths to inoculate up to 1,000 people on Saturday.
“Returning to May, it felt like a defeat. We filed 200 proceedings a day,” said Dean Rajesh C. Dere, 46. “Today we are very happy with our success.”
The first recipient of the facility was a young female health care worker in a lab coat and mask. There was applause when she put a jab in her right arm and raised her thumb in her left arm.
Mohan Ganpat Nikam, 53, a security guard at another Mumbai hospital, said he was scared last year as the pandemic raged nationwide.
“I was very happy to hear that my name was on the vaccination list,” he told AFP.
Physiotherapist Smita Ringanekar, 42, said she lived in a hotel for months so she could help her patients at home without infecting her elderly parents.
“I haven’t visited my friends and relatives for months,” she told AFP.
“I saw people die,” said Santa Roy, a 35-year-old health care worker in the city of eastern Kolkata, who now saw the “ray of hope.”
Ram Bab, who first received it in Patna, went to the temple on his way to the hospital and said, “I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep.”
New infection rates in India have plummeted in recent months. 175 people died on Friday, compared to about 4,000 a day ago in the United States.
But experts are worried that a new wave may hit, boosted by a series of recent large-scale religious festivals.
Authorities are leveraging India’s extensive elections for polio and tuberculosis and their experience in child vaccination programs.
But in a huge and poor country, often with a crude transportation network and one of the world’s least funded healthcare systems, it remains a daunting task.
Vaccination of children is a “much smaller game” and vaccination against Covid-19 is “very challenging”, says Satyajit Rath of the National Institute of Immunology.
Both approved vaccines need to be refrigerated, and other vaccines under development should be stored at ultra-low temperatures-and in countries with a scorching summer.
There are also concerns about plans to digitally manage the entire process through India’s unique app, CoWIN. There are already some fake versions of it.
And, like in other countries, there are skeptics about vaccines, fueled by online hoaxes and torrents of unfounded rumors about the virus.
For example, multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter have been shared hundreds of times (uncovered by AFP fact checks), claiming that vegetarians haven’t died in Covid.
A recent survey of 18,000 people across India found that 69% did not rush to get Covid-19 jabs.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the approval of Covaxin without data from Phase 3 human trials further undermined confidence between physicians and patients.
But with the “Thank you Modi” poster on the wall, Chand Wataru, 60, a senior doctor in Delhi who was first vaccinated at Kobishield, wasn’t worried.
“There is no cure for the coronavirus, killing people all over the world,” he told AFP.
“Phase 3 data (in the case of Covaxin) is not in the public domain. This is a concern, but it will be released in a couple of months, wasting time.”
“All this hype (about Covishield and Covacin) was created by the media,” agreed nurse Sheila, 28.
“Frankly, I feel that Covaxin is safer than Covishield,” said Praveen Jaiswal, a 55-year-old radiologist in Mumbai.
Flowers, Hope And Consent Forms For India’s Huge Vaccine Rollout Source link Flowers, Hope And Consent Forms For India’s Huge Vaccine Rollout