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India begins the largest Corona vaccination campaign in the world, vaccinating 300 million people

India is preparing for one of the largest mass vaccination campaigns in the world starting next Saturday, as India plans to vaccinate about 300 million people, or more than 20% of its 1.3 billion people, against the Corona virus in the first phase of vaccinations, and airlines have started India to deliver the first doses of vaccines to Delhi and other major cities including Kolkata, Ahmedabad and the Bengaluru Technology Center.

An estimated 30 million people will be given priority in vaccinations for health-care workers and other frontline workers, and those over the age of 50 and other younger individuals at high risk will follow.

India has also developed a digital portal called Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System, which will provide real-time information about "vaccine stock, storage temperature and individual tracking of beneficiaries", according to the Indian Ministry of Health.

"India's expertise in manufacturing vaccines and its expertise in comprehensive vaccination campaigns has prepared it well for vaccinations," wrote Achilles Perry, a South Asia analyst at Eurasia Group, in this week's report.

He added: "India has a long history of vaccination campaigns, including the Global Immunization Program, which vaccinates 55 million annually, and will rely on this experience to distribute coronavirus vaccines."

The emergency approval of vaccines in India

The Medicines Regulatory Authority of India agreed to restrict the use of two coronavirus vaccines in emergency situations, both of which will be delivered to various vaccination centers before Saturday.

One of them is a vaccine developed by the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which is manufactured locally by Serum Institute of India (SII) and known locally as Covishield.

Another vaccine called Covaxin, which was developed locally by India's Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research, has been granted emergency use permission as clinical trials continue.

The approval of Covaxin was reportedly criticized by some because the regulator gave the green light shortly after Bharat Biotech requested further analysis.

India's health minister said on Tuesday that the Indian government has signed agreements to purchase 11 million doses of Covishield at a price of INR 200 ($ 2.74) per dose and 5.5 million doses of Covaxin at an average cost of Rs 206 per dose, which is likely to be cheaper. Than they would cost in the private market.

Several other candidates, including the second locally developed vaccine by Zydus Cadila, are undergoing clinical trials.

the potential risks

India currently has more than 10.5 million cases of coronavirus, which is second after the United States, and more than 151,000 people have died from Corona in India, according to Johns Hopkins University data, but the daily reported figures show that the number of active cases is declining. .

India is the largest country in South Asia and is also the largest producer of vaccines in the world and is said to produce about 60% of all vaccines sold globally.

As such, India's production of Corona vaccines is expected to play a major role in the global vaccination campaigns against the disease.

Perry of the Eurasia Group said that despite the government's optimism, there are two important risks that could slow the start of the vaccination campaign.

"First, the vaccine production capacity will be limited even in the best case scenario," he explained, adding that if local vaccine makers were unable to produce the 600 million doses required to initially vaccinate 300 million people, then "the vaccination schedule in India - and the export of vaccines to countries may be delayed." Other heavily. "

The second risk, Perry said, is that vaccination campaigners in India will depend too much on state governments "whose capabilities and expertise vary widely." "There will be a need for effective coordination between the central and state governments."

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