In a bid to accelerate the vaccination drive and inoculate more of its citizens, the Indian government announced on Tuesday, March 23 that individuals aged 45 and above will be eligible to receive vaccines starting April 1, 2021.
India currently remains in the second phase of the world’s largest vaccination drive, which began two months ago, on January 16. So far, approximately 4,72,07,134 vaccine doses have been administered countrywide, of which 19,65,635 were given to eligible beneficiaries in the past 24 hours, on March 22. Meanwhile, around 80 lakh people have received two doses of the vaccine across India.
However, with the current rate of vaccination, it has been hypothesised that all citizens of India above 18 years are likely to be fully vaccinated only by August 2023. At present, India is using two emergency approved vaccines—Covishield and Covaxin. Both these vaccines use a two-dose regimen administered after a certain gap.
In the case of Covishield, the two doses are being administered at an interval of 4-6 weeks. However, as per recent reports, the government has now increased the interval between the two shots to 4-8 weeks.
This was done following emergence of new evidence which showcased higher vaccine efficacy when the second dose was administered after a longer gap. Moreover, this strategy will also help cover a larger number of people, while doses are being manufactured.
Meanwhile, the daily number of COVID-19 cases in India has been showcasing a rising trend in recent weeks. In the last 24 hours, India recorded 40,715 new infections, while a day before, on March 22, the total cases stood at 46,951—the highest since November 11, 2020. Now, with Holi around the corner, it is time to be more vigilant in order to curtail the spread of the virus.