Weeks before the first COVID-19 infection was identified in India, the country is on it’s way to vaccinate millions of frontline workers from January 16. Vaccines would first reach four major depots in Karnal, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai, with all States having at least one State-level regional vaccine store.
Covishield and Covaxin, the two vaccines which are currently available, will be administered in two doses, with a gap of 28 days between each dose. The effectiveness will begin 14 days after the second dose. Citizens are expected to stick to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour during and after the vaccination process.
Here are live updates:
Covaxin shipped to 11 cities in India: Bharat Biotech
Bharat Biotech said on Wednesday that it has successfully air-shipped its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin to 11 cities in India in the early hours and that it has donated 16.5 lakh doses to the centre.
The company also expressed its deepest gratitude to the nation, all clinical trial volunteers and its partners for making this a successful and milestone public-private partnership for the development of India’s first COVID19- vaccine, a press release said.
After having received the government purchase order for 55 lakh doses, Bharat Biotech shipped the first batch of vaccines (each vial containing 20 doses) to Gannavaram (Vijayawada), Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bangalore, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai and Lucknow.
First batch of 94,000 doses of Covishield vaccine reaches MP
The first consignment of about 94,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine reached the Bhopal airport in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, a state government official said.
The batch of the vaccine doses arrived at the Raja Bhoj Airport in a scheduled flight from Mumbai, said the official of the Public Relations Department.
“About 94,000 vials of the vaccine in different boxes have arrived in Bhopal,” he said.
Second lot of COVID vaccine for Assam arrives at Guwahati airport
Assam received the second consignment of COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday as a cargo flight of a private airline carrying 12,000 doses of indigenously developed ‘Covaxin’ landed at the Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport here, an official said.
The freighter ferried three boxes, weighing around 78.5 kg, of the COVID vaccine from Hyderabad, he said.
“The consignment was shipped by Bharat Biotech and handed over to state government officials within six minutes of its arrival,” a spokesperson of the Airport Authority of India said.
Second consignment of coronavirus vaccine reaches Karnataka
The second consignment of 1.47 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrived here on Wednesday from the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, a health official said.
The first consignment of about 6.48 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines had reached Bengaluru on Tuesday.
102 people positive with U.K. variant of coronavirus, says Health Ministry
The total number of persons found to be positive with the new U.K. variant genome stands at 102, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday and added that India’s active caseload had fallen to 2.14 lakh (2,14,507).
“The share of active cases in the total positive cases has shrunk to 2.04%. This is the lowest after 197 days. The total active cases were 2,15,125 on 30th June, 2020. A net decline of 2,051 cases has been recorded in the total active cases in the last 24 hours,” said a statement from the Ministry.
The Ministry also said that the COVID-19 vaccination drive scheduled to kick-start from January 16 is a massive country-wide exercise and will use the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari) and utilise the experience of elections (booth strategy) and the Universal Immunization Program (UIP).
Covishield vaccine vials for TN’s central districts reach Tiruchi
The Tiruchi regional vaccine store (RVS) received a total of 68,800 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as its first consignment from Chennai early on Wednesday morning.
The Covishield vaccine, supplied by the Serum Institute of India, had reached Chennai on Tuesday, from where it was dispatched to various RVS points in the State for the first phase of the vaccination drive to begin on January 16.
Of the 68,800 doses, Tiruchi has been allotted 17,100 vials, while the remaining doses have been sent to: Ariyalur 3,300 vials, Perambalur 5,100, Pudukottai 3,800 and 3,100 in Aranthangi, Karur 7,800, Thanjavur 15,500, Tiruvarur 6,700 and Nagapattinam 6,400.
Decision on reopening schools for other classes will be taken at appropriate time, TN Minister says
Depending upon the prevailing situation, a decision regarding reopening of schools for classes 1 to 9 and class 11, in a phased manner, will be taken, said School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan in Erode on Wednesday.
Addressing the media at Gobichettipalayam, he said that Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had announced the reopening of schools for students of classes X and XII from January 19. He said that all precautionary measures against COVID-19, as instructed by the Health Department, were taken and will be followed after the schools were opened.
First consignment of COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Kochi
The first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery about 10.45 a.m. on Wednesday. The flight arrived about 15 minutes ahead of the schedule of 11 a.m. earlier announced by the airport authorities.
The consignment comprises vaccines for Ernakulam district and Kozhikode. The transfer of the vaccines for its onward journey was completed in 10 minutes. The consignment arrived by GoAir G8 347 flight from Mumbai, airport sources said.
The parcel of vaccine comprised 1.8 lakh doses for Ernakulam and 1.19 lakh doses for Kozhikode. Vaccine for Kozhikode will be taken by road.
COVID-19 norms violators fined Rs 3.63 cr in 4 days in Gujarat
Gujarat police have collected fines worth Rs 3.63 crore between January 8 and 11 from people violating the mask rule for COVID-19 prevention and those spitting in public, officials said on Wednesday.
The fine for not wearing a mask in public places in the state is Rs 1,000.
On an average, around 9,000 people were fined every day from January 8 to 11 for the COVID-19 related violations in Gujarat, the state police said in a release.
BMC allows various education boards to conduct exams in Mumbai
The Mumbai civic body has allowed various state, national and international educational boards to conduct exams physically as per their schedule in the city while following all COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
Earlier, citing fear of a second COVID-19 wave, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) last month deferred the opening of schools and colleges here till January 15.
However, it has now decided to permitted the boards to conduct their examinations, as not doing so could result in loss of a year for students, the BMC said in its order issued late Tuesday night.
India records 15,968 new cases
India’s COVID-19 caseload increased to 1,04,95,147 with 15,968 infections being reported in a day, while the recoveries have surged to 1,01,29,111 pushing the national recovery rate to 96.51%, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.
The death toll increased to 1,51,529 with 202 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,01,29,111 pushing the national COVID-19 recovery rate to 96.51%, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.44%.
The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 3 lakh. – PTI
Tardy hunt for UK variant of virus
Though the Union Health Ministry has confirmed the presence of 96 instances of the ‘UK variant’ — a form of the Sars-Cov2 associated with high infections — in India, it is yet to significantly begin looking for the variant in those without such history. So far these variants have only been identified in those with international travel history after November.
Scientists associated with the sequencing exercise, on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that it was “highly unlikely” the variant wasn’t locally present in India in those without travel history and that not enough was being done to actively look for it.
Identifying such variants is important because in the event of a rapid spike in cases, it can be analysed if certain variants are responsible. It would also be necessary to grow these viruses in the lab so that scientists can then design appropriate tools to make diagnostic devices or even improve vaccine development efforts.
Emotional moment for Serum Institute of India team, says Poonawalla
Boxes of Covishield, the vaccine made at the Serum Institute of India, has left for multiple locations across India, Mr. Adar Poonawalla, CEO, SII, tweeted on Tuesday. “An emotional moment for the team at Serum Institute as the first shipments finally leave,” it said.
Adar Poonawalla tweeted: “An emotional moment for the team at @SerumInstIndia as the first shipments of #Covishield finally leave for multiple locations across India.” Photo: Twitter/@adarpoonawalla
The Centre has procured 11 million doses at ₹200 a dose. Two doses, 28 days apart, are to be given to 30 crore healthcare workers and others in priority groups identified by States. As part of the government-sponsored inoculation of health workers, 5.5 million doses of Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, are also being procured.