New Delhi [India], January 12 (ANI): As India is all set to start the biggest COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16, the health experts working at several Delhi-NCR hospitals have termed it as a great achievement and are hopeful of a positive outcome.
The experts said that India has experienced a massive vaccination drive but there is a need to ensure the proper arrangements for a smooth vaccination drive which will help in removing the fear of COVID-19.
Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, New Delhi said that country is looking forward to vaccinate about 300 million people by the end of August.
"Vaccination in India is expected to start from January 16. We all know it is a humongous exercise but good thing is that we are used to massive vaccination drives especially as part of our Indradhanush scheme. We also witnessed a polio vaccination program, where millions of volunteers and healthcare workers used to vaccinate children every polio Sunday. We do have the experience to that but we are looking forward to vaccinating about 300 million people by the end of August," Dr Shuchin said.
In India, AstraZeneca-Oxford's Covishield vaccine, made by the Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine have been approved by regulatory authorities.
"It is a massive exercise no doubt but it will be helped by our good network of healthcare providers. In the beginning, only two types of vaccines will be available in India. The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine, whereas, the Bharat Biotech vaccine is an inactivated virus vaccine. They have a good efficacy rate of 60 per cent, which is more than the World Health Organisation (WHO) mandatory rate of 50 per cent, So, hopefully, they will have a good outcome. I would urge all to register themselves and get vaccinated as in when their turns come and the government communicates with you," Dr Bajaj said.
Dr P Venkata Krishnan, Senior Consultant- Internal Medicine, Paras Hospital, Gurugram said India is leading the process of vaccine development all over the world and it is soon going to become the hub of the COVID vaccine for the entire world.
"Nowhere it has happened in the history of the world that a vaccine was developed in such a fast speed. The vaccines look very promising and the side effects are not significant enough. So, we should get good results from Covid vaccine, once the vaccination process starts. there are some question raised that whether we have developed herd immunity as Indians and need vaccinations? It's still not clear whether immunity is developed after a person gets infected because reinfections have also been seen with COVID-19," he said.
Dr Krishnan said that vaccination is the only way through which we can protect ourselves from Covid-19.
"The government has decided to do vaccination in a phased manner. Initially, the healthcare workers and those who are at the highest risk of contracting the infection will administer the vaccination first followed by the elderly and other general population. India is leading the process of vaccine development all over the world. It is soon going to become the hub of the COVID vaccine for the entire world. The efficacy of the vaccination will be a bit questionable. Things will take time to come to normalcy but the fear of COVID-19 will be significantly reduced," he added.
Dr Amitabha Ghosh, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, Gurugram said that given that it is winter in India and the Oxford vaccine can be stored at fridge temperature of 2-8 °C, the beginning of vaccination is anticipated to be smooth.
"However, in a country like India, operational issues such as crowd management can pose significant challenges for the care providers administering the vaccine," he said.
"Besides, informing the front line workers, who will be eligible for the first roll-out, we need to educate all stakeholders regarding the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. Vaccine centers will be equipped to handle any emergency fall out of vaccination with ready access to medicines, equipment including ambulances in the remote possibility of any reaction. Side effects like a sore arm or mild fever is expected with any vaccination but we do not expect any adverse reaction. So we advise people to go ahead and register on the app as soon as it is made available and await your first shot," he said.
Earlier in the day, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the central government is having close collaboration with states/UTs for vaccine roll-out. "All preparations are on track for vaccine roll-out from January 16, 2021," he said.
He said the COVID-19 vaccine may cost in the range of Rs 200 to 295 in India and two vaccines -- Covishiled and Covaxin -- have received Emergency Use Authorisation (EAU) after going through established safety and immunogenicity in a well-prescribed regulatory process. (ANI)