Despite an array of vaccines that will soon land on Indian shelves, the government has hinted that for now the recipients will not have the freedom of choice. The recipient must pick one of the two vaccines recently approved for restricted emergency use in India.
In a joint press conference hosted by the health ministry, ICMR and the Niti Aayog, officials also clarified that the two doses of the vaccine will be administered 28 days apart, and the vaccine is expected to offer protection 14 days after the second shot is given. The recipients will get a message one day before the inoculation.
A massive pan-India inoculation drive against COVID-19 was set in motion with Covishield vaccine leaving Pune for 13 cities across the country early in the morning, four days before the first shot on January 16.
The Maharashtra government has received 9.63 lakh doses of Covishield from Serum Institute, health minister Rajesh Tope said. The inoculation drive will be held at 511 centres across 36 districts of the state, he said. "The state government has so far compiled a database of 7.84 lakh medical workers, including doctors, nurses and other staff who have had a heightened exposure to COVID-19 patients. The registration drive on state government's portal (for those who will be vaccinated in the first phase) will continue till Tuesday midnight," he said.
Four airlines operated the nine flights which transported 56.5 lakh doses of the vaccine from Pune to 13 cities across the country.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday that the regulators were looking at four more Covid-19 vaccines -- Among these are the ones developed by Zydus Cadilla, Russia's Sputnik-V, Biological E and Gennova.
Giving an idea of the price scenario round the world, Bhushan said each dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech costs Rs 1,431, Moderna Rs 2,348 to Rs 2,715, Sinovac Rs 1,027, Novavax Rs 1,114, Sputnik V less than Rs 734 and the one developed by Johnson and Johnson Rs 734.
"All these vaccines except the one developed by Pfizer can be stored between two to eight degrees Celsius. The one developed by Pfizer needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius," he added.