June 11, 2021

Almost half of health and frontline workers are still not fully vaccinated

Bangalore: When Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked India 2019s COVID-19 vaccination campaign on January 16, 2021, he said that the first phase will cover the country 2019s frontline and medical staff in July.

However, on June 10, the United Ministry of Health admitted that although 82% of medical staff had received at least one dose, only 56% had received two vaccinations at the same time. Similarly, 85% of frontline staff received at least one dose and 47% received two doses.

To quote Federal Minister of Health Rajesh Bhushan, the shortage is a "serious problem" and the state government should vaccinate this group of workers as soon as possible.

The authors of a study of almost 9,000 members of the Vellore ChristianCollege of Medicinemedicalstaff said that some of them initially due to vaccine shortages and then, despite the availability of vaccines, they were unable to receive a second dose due to changes in interval patterns.Dose.Dose".

After India's vaccination campaign officially began, the country began reporting supply problems in March. At the same time, the government expanded eligibility for vaccination to the 45-year-old age group in April, and from May 1 to the 18 to 44 age group.

Both the Indian government and vaccine manufacturers have overestimated production capacity. The government also launched "vaccine diplomacy", exporting 58 million doses to 70 countries in mid-March and 66 million doses to 94 countries.

While local manufacturers couldn’t keep pace with the rate of vaccination, the supply of the one other vaccine in India’s drive – Sputnik V from Russia – faltered as well.

The first two or three months of the vaccination drive were also marked by vaccine hesitancy, directed especially at Covaxin, which India’s drug regulator had approved without data from its phase 3 clinical trials.

There are also problems with the vaccine registration system and changes in vaccination policies. Regarding the first: the Cowin portal has been criticized because it makes the registration process difficult for people who are not tech-savvy.

The latter: from the end of April to the beginning of June, the Modi government adopted a procurement policy.The center will buy doses of Covaxin and Covishield from vaccine manufacturers at a lower price,and the state government and private hospitals can negotiate separately according to their requirements.

The potential moral and ethical issues have drawn the ire of the Supreme Court and many independent politicians and experts. Subsequently, the government restored the original policy of centralized negotiation and procurement.

But taken together, these issues have ensured not even a fifth of the country has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. At present, 14% of Indians have received at least one dose and only 3.3% have received both doses.

Healthcare workers are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 from contact with patients with the disease. The Indian Medical Association stated on June 1 that since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,300 medical staff members have died from COVID-19, and during the second wave of the epidemic in India, nearly 600 medical staff members have died of COVID-19.

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