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COVID-19: India set to begin world’s largest immunisation today

IANS

New Delhi, Jan 16 : India is set to witness a historic moment on Saturday with the commencement of the most-awaited vaccination drive against the dreaded coronavirus disease, with over three lakh people to be inoculated with doses of either Covaxin or Covishield.

The world’s biggest vaccination drives comes almost a year after the first coronavirus case was detected in India, which then claimed over 1.5 lakh lives and infected one crore people. The first case came to the fore on January 30, 2020 in Kerala. The vaccination drive will mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually launch the world’s largest vaccination programme at 10:30 a.m. and almost three lakh beneficiaries, belonging to the priority groups, will be administered the silver bullet at over 3,006 vaccination sites across the country. Around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site.

Two vaccines — Oxford Covid vaccine Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and indigenously developed Covaxin by the Bharat Biotech — will be administered to priority groups. So far, the Central government has procured 1.1 crore Covishield and 55 lakh Covaxin vaccines at a cost of Rs 200 and Rs 206 per dose, respectively.

In Delhi, which has 81 vaccination sites, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has been allotted to six Centre-run hospitals including, while 75 Delhi government and private hospitals will receive Covishield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca with Serum Institute of India.

The vaccine will be first offered to the healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above 50 years of age, followed by the below 50 population with comorbidities, and finally to the remaining population based on disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.

The vaccination drive has been planned in a phased manner, identifying the priority groups. Healthcare workers, both in government and private sectors, including Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, will receive the vaccine in the first phase.

Earlier on Friday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that India’s exercise to vaccinate its population against Covid-19 will be the largest immunisation drive in the world. The minister reiterated that both the indigenously manufactured vaccines have proven to be safe.

The Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system, a digital platform, will be used to track the enlisted beneficiaries on a real-time basis. Prime Minister Modi will launch the app today.

The platform enables national and state administrators to view and sort the data of the beneficiaries as per their gender, age and comorbidity. They can also view the metadata of vaccination and the Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) reported from the constituent districts.

At the vaccination site, only pre-registered beneficiaries will be vaccinated as per prioritisation, and there will be no provision for on-the-spot registrations. A dedicated 24×7 hotline – 1075 – has also been set up to address questions related to the vaccine rollout and the Co-WIN app.

The entire vaccination process will be broadly similar to the election process. Each vaccination team will consist of five members, including security personnel, nurses, paramedics and a doctor. Three will be a waiting area, an inoculation room and a post-vaccination observation area. There will also be a reception desk for registration and verification of the beneficiaries.

Notably, only those above 18 years will be vaccinated. Pregnant women or who are not sure of their pregnancy and lactating mothers should not take the vaccine. Those with a history of bleeding or coagulation disorder will be administered the vaccine with utmost caution.

Vaccination will have to be deferred for four to eight weeks after recovery of patients with active Covid symptoms, or those who have been given plasma therapy, and those who are unwell or have been hospitalised for any other reason.

The second dose of the Covid vaccine will be administered after an interval of fourteen days. Also, interchanging Covid-19 vaccines is not allowed.

The mild adverse impacts of the Covishield vaccine could be headache, fatigue, pain in muscle, injection site tenderness, weakness, pyrexia, chills, arthralgia and nausea.

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Bodies of suspected Covid-19 victims found floating in Ganges in Bihar

(Asian News Hub) – Several bodies, decomposed, bloated and suspected to be of people who succumbed to Covid-19, were on Monday found floating in the river Ganga in a Bihar district.

Officials in Chausa block of Buxar, which borders Uttar Pradesh, rushed to the spot of the unseemly sight upon hearing the news.

“We were alerted by the local chowkidar that many bodies have been spotted floating from upstream. We have so far recovered 15 of these. None of the deceased happens to be a resident of the district,” Chausa BDO Ashok Kumar told over phone.

He said “many Uttar Pradesh districts are situated right across the river and the bodies may have been dumped in the Ganges for reasons not known to us. We cannot confirm whether the deceased were indeed Covid-19 positive. The bodies have started decomposing. But we are taking all precautions while ensuring that these are disposed of in a decent manner”.

Some news channels claimed the number of bodies to be as high as 100, which the BDO dismissed as “highly exaggerated”.

Many local residents, who spoke before cameras with their faces masked, claimed that the district administration was “in denial over many such unfortunate incidents involving residents of Buxar”.They alleged that those manning 
cremation ghats were charging a fortune whenever people reached there with the body of a near and dear one who died of the coronavirus.

“There is also a shortage of wood and other material required for cremation. Availability of these has taken a hit because of the lockdown. So many bereaved family members are impelled to immerse the bodies of their departed relatives in the river,” one of the residents said.

Often family members of a Covid victim are not handed over the body by the administration which claims it would perform the last rites observing the protocol in place for the deadly virus, another local stated.

“What indeed happens is that the officials develop cold feet later and fearing that they might catch the infection themselves, they dump the bodies in the river and flee. Little do they realize that they are also polluting the river,” he added.

PTI

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Kangana Ranaut tests positive for COVID-19

(Asian News Hub) – Actor Kangana Ranaut on Saturday said she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is under home quarantine.

The 34-year-old actor, whose Twitter account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of rules earlier this week, shared her diagnosis on Instagram.

“I was feeling tired and weak with slight burning sensation in my eyes for past few days, was hoping to go to Himachal so got my test done yesterday and today the result came I am covid positive.

“I have quarantined myself, I had no idea this virus is having a party in my body,” she wrote.

Terming COVID-19 a “small time flu”, Ranaut said she is determined to “destroy” the virus from her body.

“…Now that I know I will demolish it, people please don’t give anything any power over you, if you are scared it will scare you more, come let’s destroy this Covid -19 it is nothing but a small time flu which got too much press and now psyching few people,” she added.

On Friday, Mumbai reported 3,040 new COVID-19 cases and 71 fresh fatalities.

PTI

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COVID situation going from bad to worse; PM, health min refuse to own responsibility: Chidambaram

(Asian News Hub) – Asserting that the COVID-19 pandemic situation is going from bad to worse, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan are refusing to own responsibility and are making a “mockery of democratic principles”.

His remarks came after the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday showed a record 4,14,188 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day in India, raising the country’s tally to 2,14,91,598. The active cases have crossed the 36-lakh mark.

“The pandemic situation is going from bad to worse. The insufficient supply of vaccines is a hard, bitter truth, but the government is in denial,” Chidambaram tweeted.

“In Tamil Nadu, not all among 45 plus are getting the first dose and a small number the second dose. Nobody between 18 and 44 is getting the vaccine,” he claimed.

The situation in other states is not very different, Chidambaram added.

“The PM and the Health Minister refuse to own responsibility and are making a mockery of democratic principles,” the former Union minister alleged.

PTI

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