Over 17,000 people were vaccinated across 553 sites in six states on Day 2 of India’s coronavirus vaccination drive, the Health Ministry said Sunday evening, adding that the number who had received at least one shot was around 2.24 lakh. The six states that conducted vaccinations today were Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur and Tamil Nadu.
On Saturday (Day 1) 1.91 lakh were vaccinated at 3,006 sites across India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the nationwide drive. The Health Ministry said the drop in the number of states was meant to avoid clashes with immunisation schedules for other illnesses.
“States/Union Territories were advised to plan COVID vaccination sessions on four days in a week to minimise disruption of Routine Health Services. Today being Sunday only six states conducted vaccination sessions,” Dr Manohar Agnani, Health Ministry Joint Secretary, said.
The government said a majority of states had planned to vaccinate people over four days per week, but Goa and Uttar Pradesh opted for two, Mizoram for five and Andhra Pradesh for six.
On Saturday three lakh people were to be vaccinated but fewer than two lakh were actually given the shot. The government has not spoken about this gap but states have cited the vaccine being voluntary as a possible reason for the difference.
There have been concerns raised about the safety and efficacy of one of the vaccines being used – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. The drug was cleared for emergency use despite Phase III trials still pending. The government said it was cleared on the basis of Phase I and II trial data.
Yesterday the Prime Minister urged people not to believe rumours about the vaccine’s efficacy.
Today the Health Ministry also said that protocols were in place to respond to AEFIs (adverse events following immunisation). The ministry said the majority of such events were usually mild in nature – some swelling at the injection site, slight nausea or brief allergic reactions to the jab.
Only a few AEFIs required hospitalisation and these were listed as “serious”, the ministry explained.
The ministry said only 447 AEFIs had been recorded so far, of which only three had to be hospitalised. Two have been discharged (from Delhi’s AIIMS and Railway Hospital), while the third is under observation at the AIIMS in Rishikesh.
Earlier Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain said 52 AEFIs had been recorded in the national capital on Saturday after the vaccine roll-out.
Two vaccines have been cleared for emergency use in India – Covishield (developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and manufactured by Pune’s Serum Institute) and the wholly-homegrown and manufactured Covaxin.
In the first phase around one crore healthcare staff and two crore frontline workers, like police, community care workers and sanitation department employees, will receive the shots.
They will be followed by around 27 crore people – consisting of those over the age of 50 and those below with serious illnesses and associated comorbidities.