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One year of successful “Jan Bhagidari” vaccination programme in India

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Dr. Vasu reddy graduated MBBS from kurnool medical college , post graduation from All India institute of medical sciences, New Delhi and surgical oncology from kidwai memorial institute of oncology. He has good knowledge in history, economics and politics.

With unexpected pandemic entry, globally shattered lives, staggered economies, hampered studies of students, people were anchored at homes. Looking to exit from this annoying situation, governments, scientists and researchers had put every effort and looked for a solution. Though various medicines were invented and tried, few proved to be efficacious in decreasing the severity and mortality. Looking at this prevention is the only way we can come out of this loop. Apart from preventive measures in the form of social distancing, frequent hand washing, usage of masks and lock downs its necessary to develop a vaccine the way which was found fruitful in eliminating diseases like small pox, polio, mumps, measles, Rubella, etc…,.

With an aim to develop vaccines, scientists world wide had tried to develop vaccine and test their efficacy. Initially after lockdown Prime minister Narendra Modi ji said “Jab tak davai nahi dhilai nahi” indicating people to take all necessary precautions until the treatment was obtained. PM Narendra Modiji has sanctioned during the Atmanribhar bharat abhiyan 3.0, Rs.900 crore for the development of vaccine on 12th November 2020. Two indigenous vaccines were developed in India, Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine (manufactured by Serum Institute of India- Covishield) and Covaxin (Bharat Biotech) initially and  they had undergone various phases of trials before being used for mass vaccination programme. Previously any vaccine used to take 5-20 years before being used for mass vaccination also manufacturing vaccines in India used to take decades to get it done in India (Image 1). Till date 8 vaccine types were approved for emergency use in India. (Image 2)

On January 2nd, 2021, two “made in India” vaccines were approved for emergency use. With no VIP preference, the priority was given to health care workers and hence vaccination was initiated first for them. To execute this, 3006 vaccination centers nationwide were used and the world’s largest vaccination drive was started on January 16th 2021. Now there are around 1 lakh vaccination centers throughout the nation. From February 1st, 2021 frontline workers were also included in the vaccination drive. The frontline workers included police, paramilitary forces, sanitation workers, and disaster management volunteers put together both frontline and health workers constitute 3 crore members. By 19th February, 2021, 1 crore vaccination doses were delivered.

Second phase of vaccination schedule started from March 1st, 2021 when people above 60 years and people above 45 years with comorbidities were included in the drive. Co-Win, Arogya setu and Umang app were used for registration to get vaccination programme run smoothly. From April 1st, all people above 45 years were also included. On April 8th, “Teeka Utsav” was called for by PM Narendra Modi for 4 days from April 11-14, to increase vaccination drive. India is the fastest country to achieve 10 crore vaccination doses in just 85 days. By the end of vaccine teeka utsav 11.1 crore doses were administered. On May 1st onwards all people above 18 years were included for vaccination schedule. Initially  states were allowed to purchase vaccines with the difficulties faced by states in procuring vaccines, center decided to purchase the vaccines and deliver free of cost to all states on 21st June. But 25 % vaccines can be purchased by private hospitals and be administered with an appointment fee of Rs.150. Government had allotted Rs.35,000 crore in 2021-22 budget for free vaccination programme to every citizen. India reached a milestone of 25 crore jabs on 25th June, 2021. (Image 3)

With speeding up of vaccination drive, it didn’t take much time for India to touch 50 crore mark and by August 15 , 2021 India crossed 55 crore vaccination doses. By August 26, 50% of eligible population received one dose and by 29th August, Himachal Pradesh became the first state to achieve 100% first dose vaccination. September 13th marked 75 crore milestone and on 17th September on the birthday of Shri PM Narendra Modiji a record of 2.5 crore jabs were administered creating a world record of maximum jabs in a day. (Image 4) For delivery of vaccines to tough terrains like northeast and Andaman and Nicobar islands, i-drones were developed. One billion jab target was achieved on October 21st, 2021. Celebrations were conducted nationwide by unfurling largest , 1400 kg tricolor“ Khadi” flag at Redfort. Also  100 monuments nationwide are illuminated with tricolor. (Image 5).

To speed up vaccination, one more initiative brought by Government of India was “Har Ghar Dastak” campaign from November 3rd to November 30 during which door to door campaign was conducted and eligible beneficiaries were vaccinated. With covering large proportion of people above 18 years, focus now was shifted to age group between 15-18 years and vaccination to this age group was initiated from January 3rd, 2022. India reached 150 crore vaccine doses mark by 7th January 2022- a magnificent feet. Later decision to administer precaution (booster) dose for health care, frontline workers and elderly above 60 years old was taken. By January 2016, which marks one year of vaccination drive around 3.5 crore adolescents were vaccinated with a total of 156 crore jabs administered nationwide. Around 93% and 68.9% of eligible population have received 1st and 2nd dose respectively.  Also India is in a continuous process of research and  is in the process of developing 2 more vaccines of which one is a nasal vaccine and are under trials. India has not only become self sufficient but also extending hands to world by providing them vaccines through “Vaccine mitra”. Till date India had supplied 11.5 crore vaccines to 97 countries driven by the philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam”.

Many doubted whether we could accomplish vaccination for our country and thought it would take 3- 4 years to vaccinate all. But a Bhagiratha perseverance of PM Narendra Modi made this herculean task feasible. If we had to import such a large quantity of vaccine doses it would have caused not only delay but hard to get jabs. But under the able leadership and foresight, the scientists and researchers were supported from the initial stage by giving necessary permissions, funding, and fastened regulatory process made it possible. Also manufacturing vaccines at 2 points, Pune and Hyderabad and distributing needs a lot of planning and coordination. Around 1 lakh cold chain equipment’s were used to maintain the cold chain. Today India could achieve this massive feat and has become from “Make in India” to “Make for the world”. “Jan Bhagidari” with participation of every citizen like “team India” this massive vaccination programme was successful in developing protective shields to fight the COVID-19 virus.

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Dr. Vasu reddy graduated MBBS from kurnool medical college , post graduation from All India institute of medical sciences, New Delhi and surgical oncology from kidwai memorial institute of oncology. He has good knowledge in history, economics and politics.
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