More than 760,000 Indians received a Covid-19 jab on Wednesday, as New Delhi stepped up the pace of its vaccination drive by extending the previously limited hours of inoculations.
New Delhi announced on Wednesday that private hospitals would be permitted to administer vaccinations around the clock, seven days a week, having earlier decided that the jabs could only be given between 9am and 5pm.
The unlimited hours will speed up the process and help ensure that the senior citizens now eligible to be vaccinated are not turned away from hospitals, as they previously were when prescribed hours came to an end.
The move coincided with a major boost for India's vaccination campaign, as Bharat Biotech announced that its indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine had an efficacy rate of 81 per cent.
The Indian government had been strongly criticised for its decision to use Covaxin, alongside a locally produced version of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, in its vaccine drive starting last month, despite the lack of publicly available efficacy data for Covaxin.
Public health experts said the inclusion of Covaxin had contributed to vaccine hesitancy, with health workers reluctant to be vaccinated. But the release of the efficacy data — days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many members of his Cabinet received the jab — is likely to boost public confidence and give more momentum to the programme.
India launched the second phase of its ambitious vaccination campaign on Monday, providing jabs to people over the age of 60 and those over 45 with other severe illnesses.
However, the move has been hindered by glitches with the government’s centralised technology platform, CoWin, on which all potential recipients must register before they can receive the jab.
Registrations were only opened on Monday, the day the vaccines themselves were made available, and many have struggled to use the platform. Hospitals have also complained of problems, including servers down for lengthy periods, resulting in crowds at hospitals operating as vaccination centres as people flock to them in the hope of getting a jab.
Source : https://www.ft.com/content/c93a29e3-26b4-463d-b3c4-6675ce6053b7352