Congress’s Rahul Gandhi today aimed a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pointing to several nations beginning inoculation for Covid and implying India’s journey towards a vaccine is slow. Four nations — US, UK, China and Russia — are pressing ahead with vaccination as a new, more infectious mutation of the virus has brought life to a standstill in the UK. In India, the only vaccine candidate in phase III trial is Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
“23 lakh people in the world have already received Covid vaccinations. China, US, UK, Russia have started… India ka number kab ayegaa, Modi ji? (When will India get its turn),” Mr Gandhi’s tweet read.
Earlier this month, PM Modi had assured that vaccines for COVID are “likely to be ready within a few weeks” and the government is “fully prepared for the rollout”.
Five vaccines — three of them indigenous are already in the final stages of trial. Of these only Covaxin is in Phase III trial and has crossed the half-way mark — 13,000 people have received the vaccine.
Not enough people, however, have signed up to be volunteers for the vaccine. Only 200-odd participants have signed up at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Other trial centres are having trouble meeting the target too.
Manufactured in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology, Covaxin has an excellent safety record, the company has said.
The country is aiming at inoculating a critical mass of people which would break the chain of transmission of the virus. Professor Randeep Guleria, the chief of Delhi AIIMS, has said it would take at least six months.
Two states, Karnataka and Maharashtra, meanwhile, reimposed night curfew and states like Maharashtra announced new quarantine rules for arrivals from the Europe and Middle East, in view of the new coronavirus strain, which is 70 per cent more infectious.
The Centre has announced a ban on all flights from the UK till December 31.
Vaccine makers have added that the shots should work against the new strain since 99 percent of the protein is still the same”. However, The co-founder of BioNTech said it could also adapt the vaccine if necessary in six weeks.
Over the last 24 hours, the country has recorded 23,950 fresh coronavirus cases and 333 fatalities. The daily caseload was 22 per cent higher than yesterday’s. With this, the total Covid case tally has crossed 1 crore and 99 thousand with 1.46 lakh deaths, shows data from the Union health ministry.