Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the world’s largest vaccination campaign to control the COVID-19 epidemic in the country. In which vaccines of two locally manufactured companies are being used.
Addressing health department volunteers via video conferencing, Modi said he would not immediately take the vaccine himself as India was initially giving preference to nurses, doctors, and others. Modi’s office said in a statement this week that it would be the largest vaccination program in the world, covering all corners of the country.
Indian authorities plan to vaccinate 300 million people, the same number as the US population, and far more than the number of vaccines provided by the United States, which is planned to vaccinate 20 million infants.
Under this vaccination program, initially 30 million doctors, nurses, and front line workers will be vaccinated and 270 million others will be vaccinated. People over the age of 60 are preferred because they are at higher risk of contracting the virus.
Health officials did not specify the rate at which vaccinations would be given in a country with a population of 1.4 billion. But experts say it will be the largest such campaign on a global scale.
There are also some obstacles to this massive vaccination, for example, India intends to rely heavily on digital platforms to track the shipment and supply of vaccines but health experts say the country’s major Internet is complex in parts and some remote villages are not fully connected.
India on January 4 approved the use of two vaccines on an emergency basis, one developed by Oxford University and UK-based drug maker Asdra Zenika and the other by Indian biotech India Biotech on January 4. Will deliver 65 million vaccines.
However, health experts are concerned that India’s hasty approval of a biotech vaccine without waiting for data on the efficacy of the vaccine could increase reluctance in this regard. And so far at least one state health minister has opposed its use.
India’s health ministry has rejected the criticism, saying the vaccines are safe but said health volunteers would have no choice but to get vaccinated. According to Dr. SP Klantri, director of a rural hospital in Maharashtra, the state most affected by Corona in India, the approval of such a vaccine is worrisome as it was given in a hurry and could not be scientifically verified. Dr. SP Kalantari said that the government was making decisions in a hurry to vaccinate most of the people who could not be in the interest of the common man.