vaccine

Delhi logs 1,607 fresh COVID cases, 2 deaths

New Delhi [India]: The national capital reported 1,607 fresh COVID-19 infections on Friday, taking the active caseload to 5,609 in the city, informed a health bulletin by the Delhi government.

The city reported the highest number of fresh infections since February 4 this year when 2,272 cases were recorded, according to the Delhi health department.
The daily case positivity rate stands at 5.28 per cent.

As many as 1,246 COVID patients recovered from the disease yesterday. The total number of recoveries since the onset of the pandemic in the city has gone up to 18,49,772.

Two COVID-affected persons succumbed to the virus during this period, taking the death toll in the national capital to 26,174.

As per the official data, more than 30,000 COVID samples were tested in the city yesterday.

Under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, a total of 60,287 eligible beneficiaries were administered coronavirus vaccine doses on Friday in Delhi.

So far, 3,34,01,239 vaccine doses have been provided in the national capital. (ANI)

South Korea reports 286,294 new COVID-19 cases

Seoul [South Korea]: South Korea reported 286,294 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Tuesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 14,553,644, the health authorities said Wednesday.

The daily caseload was up from 266,135 the previous day, but it was lower than 424,597 a week earlier, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant and its subvariant BA.2 drove the recent resurgence, especially in the Seoul metropolitan area.

Of the new cases, 52,430 were Seoul residents. The number of newly infected people living in Gyeonggi province and the western port city of Incheon was 76,899 and 14,844, respectively.

The virus spread also raged in the non-metropolitan region. The number of new infections in the non-capital areas was 142,099, or 49.6 per cent of the total local transmission.

Among the new cases, 22 were imported, lifting the total to 31,259.

The number of infected people who were in a serious condition stood at 1,128, up to seven from the previous day.

A total of 371 more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 18,033. The total fatality rate was 0.12 per cent.

The number of people who received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines was 44,504,308, or 86.7 per cent of the total population, and the figure for those getting booster jabs was 32,840,952 people or 64.0 per cent of the population. (ANI/Xinhua)

 

Vaccination For 12 to 15 yrs : High-risk children are priority of COVID-19 vaccination program

New Delhi [India]: The primary focus was immunisation of children with comorbidities but due to the unavailability of data of such children, we have decided to open immunization for all the children between the age group of 12-15 years, said Dr NK Arora, Chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).

“Almost three months ago, Standing Technical Sub-Committee (STSC) of NTAGI meeting took place where we suggested that the vaccination should be opened for all the children’s between the age group of 2-18 with comorbidities as and when approved vaccine comes,” said Arora in an exclusive interview to ANI.
Initially, we started with the age group of 15-18 because maximum deaths occur in this age group but the age group of 12-15 is also suffering from severe disease. Hence, the decision was taken to start their vaccination,” he said.

Quoting issues like encouraging children with comorbidities to take vaccines, Arora said the decision was taken on the basis of STSC and global recommendations and also from a programmatic (logistical) perspective.

As precaution dosses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been allowed to everyone above 60 years of age, which was earlier limited to people with comorbidities, Arora said, “In last three months. we realized that it is very difficult to encourage only those with comorbidities and a lot of people who are at high risk are left out from getting the dose.

Debunking the claims around lack of scientific evidence to allow immunization of children, Arora said the decision is based on enough scientific evidence and is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) recommendations.

“It is very important that the country continues with the immunisation programme against COVID-19 as intensely and as possible. The decision is based on scientific evidence and in line with the WHO and SAGE recommendations,” he said.

The chairman of the NTAGI Working group credited the immunization of the maximum population as one of the reasons behind India not witnessing a grim situation during the Omicron wave as it saw in the earlier wave of the virus.

“Omicron has caused quite a significant problems in terms of severe disease, hospitalisation and death. Therefore, I would say that it is very difficult to estimate what would have happened if we had not immunised our population.” Arora said.

“It’s a matter of great pride that 97 to 98 per cent of the adult population have received at least one dose and over 80 per cent have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. I would attribute largely to that vaccination programme plus natural infection which has been occurring before the onset of Omicron as the reason behind mild impact during the wave of Omicron. So all put together vaccination programme has been a key pillar of India’s COVID 19 pandemic strategy.” He added.

India will start vaccinating children in the age group of 12-14 years and precaution dossed of COVID-19 vaccine to everyone above the age of 60 years from March 16. (ANI)

DCGI gives final approval to COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax for 12-18 year olds

              

By Shalini Bhardwaj

New Delhi [India], February 21 (ANI): Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Biological E on Monday received final approval from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for its COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax, for the age group 12 to 18 years.
It is India’s first indigenously developed Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) protein sub-unit vaccine against COVID-19.

The country’s central drug authority has already approved COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax for restricted use in emergency situations among adults on December 28, 2019. Biological E received the approval for restricted use in an emergency situation in adolescents aged 12 to less than 18 years based on interim results (of the ongoing phase II/III clinical study).

According to Mahima Datla, Managing Director, Biological E Limited, “We are pleased with this significant development, which helps extend the reach of our vaccine to the age group of 12 to 18 years in our country. We truly believe that with this approval, we are even more closer to finishing our global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Once fully vaccinated, children can resume their activities and educational pursuits in schools & colleges without any apprehension. We thank all the participants in the clinical trials, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (TSTHI) and the principal investigators and clinical site staff who have extended their support during the last several months.”

An official statement from the pharmaceutical firm stated that in September 2021, it received approval to conduct a Phase II/III clinical trial on Corbevax in children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years.

“Based on the no-objection certificate, Biological E initiated the clinical study in October 2021 and evaluated the available safety and immunogenicity results of the ongoing phase II/III study, which indicated that the vaccine is safe and immunogenic,” the statement read.

Biological E said that Corbevax is administered through intramuscular route with two doses scheduled 28 days apart and is stored at 2 to 8 degrees’ Celsius temperature and presented as 0.5 ml (single dose) and 5 ml (10 doses) vial and 10 mL (20 doses) vial pack.

“Biological E conducted phase I/II, II/III clinical trials of its Corbevax vaccine for adults in the country. In addition, it conducted a Phase III active comparison clinical trial to evaluate superiority over Covishield vaccine,” it said.

The Corbevax will be the second vaccine after Covaxin which has received approval for those below 18 years of age. (ANI)(image -instagram)

Over 10.71 cr COVID vaccine doses available with States, UTs

               

New Delhi [India], (ANI): More than 10.71 crore balance and unutilized COVID vaccine doses are still available with the States, Union Territories to be administered, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Friday.

The ministry has informed that more than 165.20 crore vaccine doses have been provided to States, Union Territories till date.
“More than 165.20 crore (1,65,20,44,645) vaccine doses have been provided to States/UTs so far through Govt. of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category. More than 10.71 Cr (10,71,21,576) balance and unutilized COVID Vaccine doses are still available with the States/UTs to be administered,” the ministry informed in its official press release.

The Union Government is committed to accelerating the pace and expanding the scope of COVID-19 vaccination throughout the country. The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination started on January 16, 2021.

The new phase of universalization of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from June 21, 2021. The vaccination drive has been ramped up through availability of more vaccines, advanced visibility of vaccine availability to States and UTs for enabling better planning by them, and streamlining the vaccine supply chain.

As part of the nationwide vaccination drive, the Government has been supporting the States and UTs by providing them COVID Vaccines free of cost. In the new phase of the universalization of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, the Government will procure and supply (free of cost) 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the vaccine manufacturers in the country to States and UTs.

Moreover, the vaccination drive for those between the age group 15-18 was started on January 3, 2022, and for administering the precautionary doses to the healthcare workers, frontline workers and sixty plus individuals then commenced on January 10 this year. image(instagram)

Two arrested in Hyderabad for providing fake RT-PCR test reports, COVID vaccination certificates

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India] (ANI): Hyderabad Police arrested two people for providing fake RT-PCR COVID-19 test reports without taking swabs and vaccination certificates without administration of the physical doses.
Chakravarthy Gummi, Deputy Commissioner of Police said that the arrested persons sold fake RTPCR test reports and vaccination certificates by collecting money. The two accused were arrested in two different cases under Malakpet and Humayun Nagar police stations. According to Police, one of the arrested persons, P Laxman worked at different diagnostic centres as a lab technician. About a year ago, he opened his own diagnostic centre at Asman Ghat under Malakpet police station. He tied up with MedicsPathlabs India to send his collected samples and to get test reports. The accused tore the kits and sent dummy samples to Madcis Pathlabs. For issuing negative reports and issuing fake certificates, he collected between Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 per certificate.
Hyderabad Police seized 65 fake RTPCR certificates, 20 sample collection kits, and a mobile phone from Laxman.
In the second case, the arrested person MD Tariq, who used to work as a lab technician at different diagnostic centres earlier, opened his own diagnostic centre, “Image Diagnostic Center”, at Murad Nagar, Asif Naga year ago. Later, he partnered with laboratories to send his samples.
Police said in collusion with one Kumari, a computer operator at Afzal Sagar, Tariq started providing vaccination certificates to customers without physical doses and issued forged RTPCR reports by charging Rs 800 to Rs 1,000.
Hyderabad police seized 50 fake COVID vaccine certificates, 10 RTPCR reports and 2 mobile phones from MD Tariq.
Further investigation is underway. (Image source: Unsplash)

COVID-19 vaccination for children below 15 yrs to begin after scientific evidence: Centre

New Delhi [India] (ANI): The Union Health Ministry will decide about COVID-19 vaccination for children less than 15 years of age only after scientific evidence, said Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary while addressing a press briefing on Thursday. “From January 16, 2021, COVID-19 vaccination has been started and rolled out based on scientific evidence and assumptions of protecting the most vulnerable people. So, as the scientific evidence evolved, we will be expanding the coverage of vaccination. We will take a decision on the basis of scientific evidence for below 15 years old children,” Bhushan said.
Further, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health) Niti Aayog explained, “COVID-19 vaccination for 12 years old is our next goal. These decisions will only be taken after scientific information and scientific decision. We are working on it also.”
Earlier, the official sources reported ANI that vaccination for those under 15 years of age has not been yet taken by the Union Health Ministry.
The Central government also informed that 72 per cent of India’s adult population is fully vaccinated whereas around 52 per cent of children in the 15-18 years old age group have been inoculated with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the health officials said that the adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years are actively participating in the COVID-19 vaccination drive.
On Monday, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also said that over 3.5 crore teenagers between the age limit of 15 to 18 years have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Amazing enthusiasm among young India for COVID-19 vaccination. Over 3.5 crore children between the 15-18 age group have received 1st dose of the COVID vaccine since January 3. Congratulations to all my young friends who have got vaccinated,” the health minister tweeted.
So far, India has administered 3.45 crore first doses of COVID-19 vaccination to children in the age group of 15-18 years old.
The country began vaccinating children between the ages of 15-18 years from January 3 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement on December 25 last year.
Notably, India may begin inoculating children in the age group of 12-14 years against COVID-19 in March this year, as per the statement given by Dr NK Arora who is the Chairman of the COVID-19 working group of NTAGI. (Image source: Unsplash)

Over 3.5 cr children between 15-18 receive 1st dose of COVID vaccine in India so far

New Delhi [India] (ANI): Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday informed that over 3.5 crore children between the 15-18 age group have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine so far in the country, since January 3, the commencement of vaccination drive for the age group.
Taking to Twitter, Mandaviya said, “Amazing enthusiasm among Young India for COVID-19 vaccination. Over 3.5 crore children between the 15-18 Age group have received 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine, since 3rd January. Congratulations to all my young friends who have got vaccinated.” As per the Union Health Ministry, with the administration of more than 39 lakh (39,46,348) vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 157.20 Cr (1,57,20,41,825) as per provisional reports till 7 am today. (Image source: Instagram)

UK to abolish mandatory PCR Test for vaccinated people returning to country: Reports

London [UK] (ANI/Sputnik): The United Kingdom will abolish mandatory COVID-19 tests for all fully vaccinated travelers returning to the country by the end of January, the Times reported on Sunday, citing a source close to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
“We are looking at removing all COVID tests for vaccinated travelers by the end of January, which is likely to coincide with the review of the plan B measures on January 26,” the source said, as quoted by the media. According to the newspaper, this move will help UK families to save hundreds of pounds and will give impetus to the recovery of the tourism industry.
In addition to the abolition of PCR tests for fully vaccinated people, the minister intends to remove other restrictions, in particular the mandatory wearing of face masks in shops and public transport.
The UK faced a surge in COVID-19 cases ahead of Christmas. On December 7, the authorities introduced the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all persons over 12 entering the country amid the spread of the new Omicron strain. In accordance with these rules, all passengers were required to present a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before their arrival.
On December 8, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the country would move to the so-called Plan B. The British were encouraged to work from home whenever possible and required to wear a mask. In addition, a COVID-19 pass confirming vaccination became mandatory for visiting public places. Daily testing was required for those who may had come into contact with carriers of the coronavirus.
A few days later, British airlines asked Johnson to abolish mandatory COVID-19 tests for fully vaccinated passengers. (Image source: Instagram)

No COVID-19 vaccination could mean no Roland Garros for Djokovic

Paris [France] (ANI): World number one Novak Djokovic could be barred from playing in the French Open after France’s Sports Ministry on Monday said that there would be no exemption from the country’s new vaccine pass law for the anti-vaccine tennis player.
Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday after the Serbian lost his court case and hence he would not be able to defend his Australian Open title. “The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be imposed, as soon as the law is promulgated, in establishments that were already subject to the health pass,” France’s Sports Ministry said, Sydney Morning Herald reported quoting Reuters.
“This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson. And this until further notice. Now, as far as Roland Garros is concerned, it’s in May. The situation may change between now and then and we hope that it will be more favourable. So we’ll see, but clearly, there’s no exemption,” it added.
France’s vaccine pass law that was approved by parliament on Sunday, will require people to have a certificate of vaccination to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and long-distance trains.
Djokovic on Sunday had said that he is “extremely disappointed” by the Australian court’s ruling to dismiss the tennis player’s application for judicial review of the cancellation of his visa.
The world number one men’s singles player further confirmed that he will not participate in the Australian Open, where he is the three-time defending champion.
A statement released by the nine-time AO champion read: “I would like to make a brief statement to address the outcomes of today’s Court hearing. I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.”
“I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open,” he added.”
Djokovic on Sunday lost his appeal against deportation, the Chief Justice James Allsop of the Federal Court of Australia announced.
Djokovic’s visa was cancelled on Friday by Hawke, the Australian Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs. (Image source: Instagram)

India’s first homegrown mRNA vaccine to be tested amid Omicron spike: Official sources

New Delhi [India], January 17 (ANI): The country’s first messenger mRNA vaccine is expected to begin trials on humans in February.
The Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals has submitted phase 2 data of mRNA vaccine and has also completed the recruitment of phase 3 data. Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) Subject Expert Committee (SEC) is expected to review the data soon, the official sources said. Gennova Biopharmaceuticals has also developed the mRNA vaccine for the Omicron variant that will be tested on humans for efficacy and immunogenicity soon, the official sources said.
Earlier in the month of September 2021, the Gennova issued a press statement and updated about the vaccines trials, “The Drug Controller General of India, had approved Phase II and Phase III study protocols for HGCO19, India’s first mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Limited (“Gennova”) back in August.”
“Gennova had submitted the interim clinical data of the Phase I study to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), the Government of India’s National Regulatory Authority (NRA). The Vaccine Subject Expert Committee (SEC) had reviewed the interim Phase I data, and found that HGCO19 was safe, tolerable, and immunogenic in the participants of the study,” it said
The company also mentioned the number of trials sites, “The study is being conducted in India at approximately 10-15 sites in Phase II and 22-27 sites in Phase III. Gennova is using the DBT-ICMR clinical trial network sites for this study.”
mRNA vaccines belong to the category of nucleic acid vaccines, which use genetic material from disease-causing virus or pathogen to trigger an immune response against it within the body. (Image source: Unsplash)

No COVID-19 vaccine shortage in Maharashtra, clarifies Union Health Ministry

New Delhi [India] (ANI): The Union Health Ministry on Friday issued a clarification that there is no COVID-19 vaccine shortage in Maharashtra as it has over 24 lakh unutilized doses of Covaxin available with it and an additional 6.35 lakh doses have been received today.
According to the press release issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW), there have been some media reports alleging vaccine shortage in Maharashtra stating that due to lack of vaccines the state government is unable to increase the pace of vaccination in the state. Such reports are ill-informed and incorrect. “It is clarified that, as per the reports available today, Maharashtra has over 24 lakh unutilized doses of Covaxin available with it and an additional 6.35 lakh doses have been received on Friday,” Ministry said.
As per their weekly consumption data available on Co-WIN, the average consumption by Maharashtra for Covaxin to cover the eligible beneficiaries for 15-17 years and for precaution dose is almost 2.94 lakh doses per day, the release read.
Therefore, the state has adequate vaccine doses for about 10 days to cover the eligible beneficiaries with Covaxin, it added.
As per the ministry, furthermore, for Covishield, the state has 1.24 crore unutilized and balance doses available as of date. With an average consumption of 3.57 lakhs per day, this will sustain for more than 30 days for the beneficiaries to be vaccinated using the vaccine.
Hence, the media reports are not factually correct and do not reflect the correct picture of the available stock of balance and unutilized COVID vaccine doses with Maharashtra, the statement said. (Image source: Instagram)

West Bengal begins administering COVID-19 vaccine ‘precautionary dose’

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India] (ANI): West Bengal on Monday began administering ‘precautionary dose’ for health workers, frontline workers, senior citizens with comorbidities.
“274 days after the second dose, a person is eligible to take ‘precautionary dose’. We got a good amount of responses on the first day. Though initially, we faced some problems with the CO-WIN registration, now the problem has been sorted” said Dr Anupam Das, In-charge of Vaccination of Peerless hospital in Kolkata. “A vaccinated person can also get COVID-19 positive but the seriousness of the disease will not be much”, added Dr Das.
Meanwhile, West Bengal today recorded 19,286 new cases taking the total active cases in the state to 89,194. Kolkata itself reported the highest with 5,363 new cases. (Image source: Unsplash)

Novavax, Serum Institute file for emergency use authorisation of Novavax’ COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa

Gaithersburg [US] (ANI): Novavax, a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and commercializing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, and Serum Institute of India (SII), on Monday, announced a regulatory submission to the South African Health Products Regulatory Agency (SAHPRA) for emergency use authorization (EUA) of Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate with Matrix-M adjuvant.
“If authorised, the vaccine (known as NVX-CoV2373) will be manufactured by and commercialized by SII in South Africa under the brand name Covovax,” said Novavax in a statement on Monday. “Novavax is thankful for our long-standing history of partnership in South Africa to advance much-needed vaccines. This is exemplified by the country’s vital role in the Phase 2b clinical trial and booster study of our protein-based COVID-19 vaccine,” said Stanley C Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax.
“Novavax and Serum Institute remains focused on delivering the COVID-19 vaccine – built on well-understood technology – where it is needed most. We look forward to SAHPRA’s review and, if authorized, delivering the vaccine to help South Africa control the pandemic,” Erck added.
In total, Novavax’s vaccine has received authorizations of the vaccine in over 170 countries, including conditional marketing authorisation for its vaccine in the European Union and emergency use listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Novavax/SII vaccine (Covovax) recently received EUA in India, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as WHO EUL and is also currently under review by multiple regulatory agencies worldwide. This includes the submission of its complete chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) data package to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the end of 2021.
The company expects to submit a request for EUA for the vaccine in the US after one month in accordance with guidance from the FDA regarding the submission of all EUA vaccines. (Image source: Instagram)

Karnataka govt makes COVID vaccine certificate mandatory for entry in public places

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: In view of the rising COVID-19 cases in the state, the Karnataka government on Friday made COVID vaccine certificate mandatory for entry in public places such as malls, markets and restaurants.
Addressing mediapersons here, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, “There will be strict enforcement of presenting vaccination certificates, as a universal pass, before entering any public place, including markets, malls, pubs, bars, restaurants, etc.” Sudhakar further said that the travellers from other states will be tested for the presence of the virus and COVID-care centres will be set up in the state.
“Travellers from other states will be tested and COVID-care centres are to be set up. We are collaborating with all hotels and educational institutions for institutional quarantine; monitoring of a uniform, transparent hospital bed management system is underway,” he added.
He further said that the complete lockdown is not a matter of consideration for the government.
“Lockdown is not a remedy. It is now a policy of the past. It was imposed when we did not have a remedy. Now, we know how to treat a person with an infection. Complete lockdown is not a matter of consideration for the government. That much clarity the government has because it is working to protect the lives and interests of people,” said Sudhakar.
He added that the government will ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 norms.
Further speaking on the Omicron variant of COVID-19, he said that the infections are spreading rapidly in six districts– Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Mandya, Mysuru, Udupi and Kolar. These districts have a high positivity rate.
“We are in touch with the district administrations. We will make every effort to bring it down. Though Omicron is not severe, those who have not taken both the jabs of coronavirus vaccine would suffer. In some cases, deaths may also occur,” he warned.
Earlier today, Sudhakar informed that Karnataka reported 107 cases Omicron variant of COVID-19 cases on Thursday taking the tally in the state to 333.
Meanwhile, Karnataka reported 8,449 new COVID-19 cases, 505 recoveries and four deaths in the last 24 hours, informed the state health ministry on Friday.
With this, the active cases tally in the state mounted to 30,113.

Warning! no paracetamol after anti-covid vaccine otherwise….

             

New Delhi [India]: Experts said that those children who are getting anti-COVID vaccines should not take paracetamol before the consultation of doctors.

The advice was issued in response to growing concerns that some immunisation centres are advising children to take three paracetamol 500 mg tablets after receiving the COVID vaccine.
“Paracetamol is not recommended as prophylaxis, before and after any Covid vaccination as we don’t know how it alters the immune response of vaccine. A low-grade fever, muscle ache, lethargy, headache, soreness at the injection site is common in the first 2 days after vaccination, which usually subsides on its own, without any medication. However, if the fever persists or the intensity increases then paracetamol or other painkiller is advised after consultation with a physician. So paracetamol is to be taken only after consultation and not as prophylaxis for fever, which happens because of immune response of the body to the vaccine components,” said Dr Akshay Budhraja, Sr. Consultant, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Aakash Healthcare.

To combat the third wave of Omicron cases, the Union government has begun administering the Covid vaccination to teenagers aged 15 to 18. On January 3, the first day of the children’s vaccination programme, over 41 lakh such children received their first dose of vaccine. However, it has been discovered that when children have a fever, they are given paracetamol without consulting a doctor, which can harm them.

“Giving paracetamol to children (15-18 years old) who are receiving COVID vaccines is not recommended these days. It is because it has the potential to cause hepatotoxicity (liver damage caused by drug exposure) in them. If children develop a fever after receiving the COVID vaccine, they should be given Mefenamic acid or Meftal syrup. Adults over the age of 18 who have a fever after receiving the Covid vaccine are safe to take paracetamol,” says Dr Col.Vijay Dutta, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre.

“It says it is not recommended to take it as a rule – that definitely after taking the vaccine you shouldn’t take Paracetamol. Vaccine-related fever usually occurs within 24 hours of vaccine administration and 1-2 spikes. Other symptoms like some muscle pain, weakness can be there which do not need any medication! Fever 99 and above may need age and weight-specific dose only after consulting with the treating paediatrician. Waiting at the vaccination centre for half an hour post-vaccination. Adequate hydration, rest, and sleep – going about the day, as usual, is sufficient precautions to take while getting vaccinated,” Dr Swetha Reddy Pasam, Consultant-Paediatrics, Apollo TeleHealth.

Previously, Bharat Biotech, which developed India’s first indigenous Covid vaccine, Covaxin, stated that no painkillers or paracetamol are recommended following vaccination with its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.

Vaccine exemption controversy: Serbia demands Australia to stop treating Djokovic as ‘criminal’

Melbourne [Australia]: Serbia’s foreign secretary Nemanja Starovic has demanded Australia to move world number one Novak Djokovic to a nicer hotel as the defending Australian Open champion continues to stay in the immigration detention centre after his visa was cancelled.
This demand came after Acting Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan revealed that Tennis Australia did not inform her government about Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government letters which stated that a prior COVID infection – the basis for Djokovic’s exemption for COVID-19 vaccination – would not be accepted as a genuine exemption. “We expect that the ambassador personally takes action for him to be moved to accommodation befitting the best sportsman in the world, not a criminal or an illegal immigrant,” Starovic said in the statement, as reported by Sydney Morning Herald.
Starovic has also said that the Serbian public believes that Djokovic has become the victim of political games in Australia.
Djokovic had won his court bid on Thursday and as a result, there was no immediate deportation, allowing the defending Australian Open champion to stay in Melbourne until at least Monday.
Djokovic had decided to mount a legal challenge to his visa cancellation by Australia. He decided to fight it out after he had to spend eight hours in detention at Melbourne Airport where he unsuccessfully pleaded his case to border officials.
Australia on Thursday cancelled world number one Novak Djokovic’s visa to enter the country, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed. Earlier, Djokovic had landed in Australia citing a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open. The particular vaccine exemption which Djokovic cited created a huge controversy and it received backlash from the Australian public.
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said Djokovic is no special case and the same rules as everyone will apply to him.

Bharat Biotech gets SEC approval for phase 3 clinical trials of COVID booster intranasal vaccine

New Delhi [India]: The Subject Experts Committee (SEC) of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) on Wednesday granted approval to Bharat Biotech for conducting intranasal phase 3 trials and heterologous trials for COVID-19 booster intranasal vaccine for those who have taken both the doses of Covaxin and Covishield.
The SEC has asked the Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer to submit its revised protocol for trials. “After detailed deliberation, the SEC ‘in principle’ agreed for the conduct of both phase 3 superiority study and phase 3 booster dose study in parallel in the light of the pandemic situation. Accordingly, Bharat Biotech has been asked to submit the protocol(s) as recommended for approval,” reads the SEC minutes of the meeting.
The vaccine manufacturer plans to conduct clinical trials on 5,000 healthy individuals, 50 per cent of whom have received Covishield and the other 50 per cent have been inoculated with Covaxin.
The report submitted by Bharat Biotech also recommended inoculating the COVID-19 Booster dose after 6 months of getting both the primary doses.
The company had applied for permission sometime around mid-December to conduct clinical trials for its intranasal booster dose vaccine.

CM Stalin urges to people get vaccinated

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India]: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said that though the infection rate due to Omicron is high, vaccination provides a shield from this new variant.
Urging people to vaccinate themselves, CM Stalin said, “According to medical experts, Omicron is spreading fast. Though the Omicron infection rate in Tamil Nadu is high, vaccination will shield one from this virus. People should maintain social distancing and must wear masks.” He further said that people above 60 years of age should mandatorily take vaccination.

India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 147 cr

New Delhi [India]: More than 147 crore COVID-19 vaccination doses have been administered so far in India under the Nationwide vaccination drive, informed the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, India reported 37,379 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the daily positivity rate in the country to 3.24 per cent, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday. With this, the country’s COVID-19 case tally has risen to 3,48,08,886.
According to Health Ministry, the country has so far reported 1,892 cases of Omicron of which 766 have been recovered.
The Ministry informed that India’s active caseload presently is at 1,71,830, accounts for 1 per cent of the country’s total cases, and is currently at 0.49 per cent.
The weekly positivity rate is at 2.05 per cent, while the daily positivity rate is at 3.24 per cent.
With the recovery of 11,007 patients in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tally of COVID recovered patients, since the beginning of the pandemic, now stands at 3,43,06,414. The current recovery rate is at 98.13 per cent.
The country also reported 124 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 4,82,017.

Over 40 lakh jabbed on first day of COVID-19 vaccination for 15 to 18 year olds

New Delhi [India]: On the first day of COVID-19 vaccination for children in 15 to 18 years age group, more than 40 lakh vaccine doses were administered till 8.30 pm on Monday, as per the CoWIN portal.
Terming the achievement as another “feather in the cap” in India’s ongoing nationwide vaccination drive in which the country earlier crossed the milestone of administering over 100 crore vaccine doses, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted, “Well done Young India! Over 40 Lakhs between 15-18 age group received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on the first day of vaccination drive for children, till 8 pm. This is another feather in the cap of India’s vaccination drive.” It is here to note that the vaccination registration for children in this age group began on January 1 while the drive commenced on January 3.
The vaccination is being carried out in consultation with hospitals, health centres and schools.
Earlier in the day, the Union Health Minister visited a COVID-19 vaccination site for children at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and interacted with some of the beneficiaries. During his interaction, Mandaviya asked them to motivate their friends to get vaccinated.
A large number of vaccination centres administered Covaxin at different centres, schools and hospitals.
“With the launch of vaccinations for children between 15-18 years, we have made a beginning in protecting our future and the future of the country. This is an age group that needs to be protected against COVID-19 and vaccination will help in mitigating the severity and preventing complications of Covid in children,” said Prathap C Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group.
“We have a capacity of administering vaccine doses to 200 children in a single day, but today it was the first day. So as a precaution we inoculated doses to just 50 children today,” Dr Sameer Bhati, in charge of vaccination centre at Tilak Nagar told ANI.
“Initially due to Omicron fear, fewer children turned up for vaccination but later when they witnessed no risk, then they came forward, ” he added.
Dr Bhati said that for a dose of Covaxin, they charged Rs 1,200.
“Most of the beneficiaries said that they are not feeling anything yet after the vaccination. They are excited after the vaccination and feeling safe,” he remarked.
Dr Sameer Kulkarni, Regional Director of Paras Healthcare said, “Since schools and colleges have opened earlier this year, several outbreaks in residential schools and college dorms have been reported. As a result, it’s critical that we should do everything we can to ensure that our children are healthy and safe.”
“The vaccine drive for children for ages 15-18 is certainly a welcome move by the government. We believe that the vaccines are safe. The risks of contracting COVID-19 greatly outweigh any minor adverse effects that may occur as a result of immunization. While children, by and large, have only a mild disease themselves, a small number of them may get sick enough to require hospitalization as was seen in South Africa lately. The vaccination can mitigate the severity of disease in children so they can be managed at home and this can prevent the health services from being overwhelmed with additional load,” he added.
“We have done all arrangements like social distancing, vaccination facilities. We are distributing tokens to avoid the crowd and vaccinating them on the basis of tokens. We also have an observation point where children have to wait for sometime after vaccination,” said Dr Anjali Saxena, Madhukar Rainbow Hospital.
Ananya, a student of Modern School in Delhi, after vaccination said, “I was the first to get the vaccination at Maulana Azad Medical College. All my family members are fully vaccinated. Thus, I wasn’t having any fear about vaccination.”

COVID-19 vaccination for 15-18 age group begins across India

New Delhi [India]: COVID-19 vaccination for the 15-18 age group began on Monday morning across the country.
CoWIN registration for the age group had already begun on Saturday. As many as 12,57,603 children in the 15-18 age group have registered so far on CoWIN platform to get vaccinated.
As per Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, the national capital has the capacity to vaccinate 3 lakh children falling in the age group of 15 to 18 years every day.
COVID vaccination centres in Delhi have been set up in government hospitals, dispensaries, polyclinics and schools run by the Delhi government and municipal corporations.

“I got my vaccination registration done online yesterday. Apart from the vaccination, we need to be extra careful and alert for our own safety,” said a teenager after getting vaccinated in Delhi’s Dr RML Hospital.
“Children are excited to take the vaccine. All the children are being kept in the observation room for 30 minutes,” said Jyoti Grewal, vaccinator at Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Laxmi Nagar.

Similarly, a vaccinator at a Government Model Senior Secondary School in Chandigarh said, “All arrangements are in place and dose supplies are adequate.”
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited one of the centres in Lucknow to lunch the vaccination drive and said, “There are 1.4 crore children in the age group of 15-18 in the state. 2,150 booths have been set up across the state to vaccinate the children.”

“We’ve made a micro plan as per which we’ll vaccinate 600 students above 15 years of age with COVAXIN,” says Dr Rajnikanth Contractor, Medical Officer-In-Charge of Chandlodiya Urban Health Center, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
The vaccination drive is also witnessing active participation in Jammu and Kashmir as students are visiting their schools turned into vaccination centres since morning.

PM Modi on December 25, 2021, had announced that the vaccination for the age-group 15-18 years is scheduled to begin from Monday while administration of precautionary third dose for the vulnerable categories is to commence from January 10, 2022.
In the context of the vaccination of the age group 15-18 years, the Union Health Secretary informed the States and UTs that only ‘Covaxin’ is to be administered in this population category and additional doses of ‘Covaxin’ will be sent to all states and UTs.
Those with the birth year of 2007 or before will be eligible for vaccination under this category.

Over 7 lakh children aged 15-18 yrs register for COVID-19 vaccination on CoWIN

New Delhi [India]: Over 7 lakh beneficiaries in the 15-18 age group have registered themselves on the CoWIN portal for COVID-19 vaccination, which will start from January 3 onwards.
The data on CoWIN dashboard is reflecting the registration of 7,21,521 beneficiaries of the said age group by 9:20 pm. The registrations for vaccinating children falling in the age bracket of 15 to 18 years started on January 1.
CoWIN is the Government of India’s portal under the Union Ministry of Health launched for COVID-19 vaccination registration.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25 had announced that the country is preparing to begin the COVID-19 vaccination of children aged 15 to 18 years.
The Union Health Secretary also informed the States and Union Territories that only Covaxin is to be administered in this category of the population and additional doses should be sent to States and union territories.
Earlier, CoWIN platform chief Dr R S Sharma said, “We’ve added an additional (10th) ID card for registration -the student ID car because some might not have Aadhaar or their identity cards.”

Uttar Pradesh to start vaccinating children aged 15-18 years from Monday

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: Uttar Pradesh will start administering COVID-19 vaccination doses to children aged 15-18 years from Monday.
As per a press release from the state government, there are 1 crore 40 lakh children in the aforementioned age bracket. The preparations for vaccinating children have been complete in the state, the release said. The registration of children for vaccines started on Saturday. Children can get themselves registered at the CoWin portal and book their vaccination slots.
“Class 10th ID card will be a valid document for the children to get their vaccination doses,” added the release.
A database is being prepared with regards to the number of children aged 15-18 in each district who will receive their vaccination.
Over three lakhs of children will receive their vaccination in Lucknow, the capital of the state. In Lucknow, vaccination facilities will be available in various hospitals including PGI, Balrampur, Civil, Rani Laxmibai, Lokbandhu, Thakurganj TB Hospital, KGMU, Dufferin, Lohia, Mahanagar Bhaurao Deoras. In addition, children will also be vaccinated in community health centres, added the release.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asked officials of the state health department to stay in touch with the Central government officials.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2021, had announced that the vaccination for the age-group 15-18 years is scheduled to begin from Monday while administration of precautionary third dose for the vulnerable categories is to commence from January 10, 2022.
Coming to vaccination of ages above 18 years, more than 20 crore vaccination doses have been given in the state. Out of this, 12 crores people have received their first dose of vaccine, and 7 crore people have received their second dose.
“With this, 87.05 per cent of the eligible adult population in the state has received their first dose of the vaccine while 50.11 per cent have received their second dose,” added the release.
For the Magh Mela which will start from January 14 in the state, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has instructed the concerned authorities to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are followed by people.
A negative RT-PCR report has been made mandatory for the event. Only people wearing face masks, who have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccination will be allowed to enter the fair.
Magh Mela is an annual festival that is held in the month of Magha (according to the Hindu calendar) near river banks and Hindu temples.
The devotees take the holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of Yamuna, Ganga, and mythological Saraswati, on the occasion of Paush Purnima.
During the entire month of Magh Mela, the pilgrims stay on the banks of Sangam in tents and take an early morning bath and participate in other religious duties.

Preparations for COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 15-18 yrs to begin tomorrow

New Delhi [India]: Preparations are in full swing to set up centres at Delhi’s Tilak Nagar for COVID-19 vaccination of children falling in the age group of 15-18 years which is scheduled to commence from January 3. For such beneficiaries, the vaccination option will be “Covaxin” only.
The registrations for vaccinating 15-18-year-old children against COVID-19 started on January 1 and over 3.5 lakh beneficiaries of the 15-18 age group have registered themselves on the CoWIN portal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as on Sunday morning. The vaccine option for those in the 15-18 age group would only be Covaxin, according to the “Guidelines for Covid-19 vaccination of children between 15-18 years and precaution dose to HCWs, FLWs and 60+ population with comorbidities” issued by the Union health ministry.
As per the data on the CoWin dashboard, 3,57,984 beneficiaries of the 15-18 age group had registered on the portal by 9:30 am.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Sameer, the vaccination centre in-charge said the preparations have been done to begin vaccination of children between 15-18 years of age against COVID-19 from tomorrow.
“We have made kids friendly centre. There are many arrangements for them such as books and musical items. There will also be given return gift after their COVAXIN vaccination,” Dr said.
“There is an excitement in both parents and children, they are visiting the centre to enquire. This time, the registration can be walk-in or done online,” he said.
Dr Sameer further told ANI that “Our slot for January 3 and 4 is full. The pricing of the vaccines is the same as for adults. “
Meanwhile, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain has said that the national capital has the capacity to vaccinate 3 lakh children falling in the age group of 15 to 18 years every day.
Satyendra Jain said, “We are fully prepared. The Delhi government has prepared about 1,000 centres and we have the capacity to administer 3 lakh vaccines every day. Right now about one and a half lakh doses of vaccine are being administered every day and if needed, we can increase it. No matter how many children are there, we have preparations to vaccinate everyone in seven to 10 days. The government has also trained health workers for the vaccination of children.”
In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement, the country is preparing to begin the COVID-19 vaccination drive for 15-18-year-old children from Monday.
PM Modi on December 25, 2021, had announced that the vaccination for the age-group 15-18 years is scheduled to begin from Monday while administration of precautionary third dose for the vulnerable categories is to commence from January 10, 2022.
In the context of the vaccination of the age group 15-18 years, the Union Health Secretary informed the States and UTs that only ‘Covaxin’ is to be administered in this population category and additional doses of ‘Covaxin’ will be sent to all states and UTs.
Those with the birth year of 2007 or before will be eligible for vaccination under this category.

Telangana Governor urges people to take 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccines

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India]: Telangana Governor Tamilisai Sounderrajan has congratulated the state on achieving 100 per cent first dose vaccination and urged people to take the second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
On completion of 100 per cent vaccination of the COVID-19 first doses in Telangana, Governor visited Chintalbasti Urban Primary Health Center (UPHC) in Hyderabad on Wednesday. Addressing media persons yesterday, the Governor said: “Telangana has completed 100 per cent first dose vaccination and 65 per cent second dose vaccination. I appeal to the people to take the second dose of vaccination also. Just a single dose is not enough and the people have to take a second dose too. Now we have entered the era of taking booster dose.”
Expressing her happiness at the Telangana State achieving 100 per cent first dose vaccination, she congratulated and lauded the efforts of the State government, officials, doctors, ASHA workers, and other para-medical staff for achieving this remarkable feat.
Soundararajan also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supplying an adequate number of vaccine doses to the State.
She further emphasised adhering to the COVID-appropriate behaviour to contain the spread of the pandemic escalated due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
“Apart from vaccination we need to be very cautious about the omicron, in Africa, the health workers have completed only 4 per cent of vaccination and even Health Minister Harish Rao mentioned unvaccinated people are seriously affected. In Puducherry, people are affected intensively. ,” she added.
Telangana Governor also appealed to people not to be reckless even after taking vaccination and appealed to the people to follow corona protocols to celebrate New Year.

Italy cancels quarantine for those vaccinated with 3 doses after contacts with patients

Rome [Italy]: Italy has revised anti-coronavirus measures in light of the spread of the Omicron strain of COVID-19, among others cancelling the quarantine for people inoculated with three doses of vaccines after contacts with COVID-19 patients.
The new regulation was adopted on Wednesday by the Council of Ministers following a meeting of the committee on COVID-19. The quarantine after contact with COVID-19 patients will not be also mandatory for those who got two doses if the inoculation took place less than 120 days before the contact.
The new measures also extended the use of the enhanced green pass, a sanitary document for those fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. Starting from January 10, the enhanced green pass will be mandatory for all types of transport.
Italy, like many other countries, is currently facing a new wave of coronavirus linked to the Omicron strain.

Karnataka to conduct vaccination drives in schools to innoculate age group of 15-18 yrs

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday informed that the state is preparing to inoculate 15 to 18-year-old from January 3 by organising vaccination drives at schools.
“We are preparing to inoculate 15-18-year-olds from January 3 by organising vaccination drives at schools. Primary Health Care (PHCs) asked to be prepared for administering ‘precautionary dose’ to those above 60 years of age with co-morbidities from Jan 10, 2022”, CM Bommai told reporters. CM Basavaraj Bommai also issued a compensation cheque of Rs 1,00,000 to the families of Below Poverty Level (BPL) people who lost their lives to COVID-19 in the limits of Bangalore urban district and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits.
Karnataka CM had informed earlier that the state is prepared to tackle the possible third wave of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, due to a rise in Omicron cases, the Karnataka government has decided to impose a night curfew from December 28 from 10 pm to 5 am for ten days.
On December 2, Karnataka reported the country’s first Omicron case in Bengaluru.
Further, India has logged 6,531 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Monday. As per the Health Ministry, the country’s active caseload stands at 75,841. “Active cases constitute 0.22 per cent of the country’s total positive cases, which is lowest since March 2020,” said the Ministry. Meanwhile, the tally of cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus in the country has risen to 578.

COVID-19 vaccination: Registration for children aged 15-18 to begin from Jan 1

New Delhi [India]: From January 1, children in the age group of 15-18 will be eligible to register on the CoWIN platform.
CoWIN platform chief Dr R S Sharma said: “We’ve added an additional (10th) ID card for registration – the student ID card because some might not have Aadhaar or other identity cards.” Emphasizing precaution in view of the rise in cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on December 25 announced three major decisions in the fight against the disease including start of vaccination for children in 15-18 age group from coming January 3.
In his address to the nation, the Prime Minister said the government was following scientific advice in the vaccination drive against COVID-19. “Vaccination will start in the country for children aged between 15 to 18 years from January 3, 2022,” he said.
“The government has decided that precautionary dose of vaccine will be started for healthcare and frontline workers starting January 10, 2022. Citizens above 60 years facing co-morbidities, they will have the option of taking precaution dose on the advice of their doctor,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that 61 per cent of the adult population in the country had been given both doses of COVID-19 vaccine while 90 per cent of the adult population has go the first dose. India started the COVID vaccination drive on January 16 this year.
The Prime Minister said that the move to provide vaccination to children in the 15-18 age group is likely to aid in education normalization in schools and will reduce the worry of the parents with school-going children.

35 per cent of adult population yet to be vaccinated, says Congress

New Delhi [India]: With the number of Omicron cases rising in India, the Congress attacked the Centre and asked by when the government is intending to vaccinate the remaining 35 per cent of the adult population of the country.
Speaking at the press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “According to the PIB data and affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court, around 36 crore of the eligible population is yet to receive the second dose of COVID dose while 11 crores to get both the doses. By when the government will inoculate this population? The government had promised to vaccinate the adult population by December 31. However, it has not fulfilled the promise.” Congress said that the government plans to provide jabs to children aged 15 to 18 and booster shots for health workers, frontline workers and those above 60 years with comorbid conditions. “For this vaccination drive, there are around 25.69 eligible people and to inoculate them is a requirement of 35.70 crore additional doses when there is already a shortage of anti-COVID doses in the country.”
The Congress party also questioned why the government is administering vaccines to children between the age group of 15 and 18 when some countries across the globe have started inoculating children above three years of age.

Three out of 183 Omicron positive cases had taken third vaccine dose, informs Health Ministry

New Delhi [India]: The Union Health Ministry on Friday said that of the 183 Omicron positive cases reported in India, three patients have already taken three doses and 121 had a foreign travel history.
Addressing a press briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “During analysis of 183 Omicron positive cases 121 had a foreign history, 44 cases have no travel history but most of them are those who came in contact with those who have travel history. 87 people were fully vaccinated, three people were those who received three doses and amongst them two are from Delhi and one is from Maharashtra.” Bhushan further said that the vaccination status of some patients is under tracking and some were unvaccinated.
“Seven people unvaccinated, two people amongst them partially vaccinated, 16 Omicron positive patients were ineligible and 73 are those whose vaccination status is unknown we are tracking that,” he added.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that they are reviewing scientific data to formulate a policy on booster shots.
“Deliberations are underway. We are reviewing scientific data to formulate a policy,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of ICMR on vaccine booster shots.
As a working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) recommendations is still under process over booster dose and vaccination for children, Dr VK Paul, member Niti Aayog said, “Decision on the booster and children’s vaccination will be based on science.”

India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 140.31 cr

New Delhi [India]: With the administration of 57,44,652 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 140.31 Cr (1,40,31,63,063) as per provisional reports till 7 am today, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday.
This has been achieved through 1,48,79,511 sessions, stated the ministry. As per the ministry, the recovery of 7,051 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients (since the beginning of the pandemic) to 3,42,15,977.
Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.40 per cent, the highest since March 2020, according to the ministry.
Sustained and collaborative efforts by the Centre and the States/UTs continue the trend of less than 15,000 daily new cases that are being reported for the last 57 days now.
6,650 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. India’s active caseload is presently at 77,516. active cases constitute 0.22 per cent of the country’s total positive cases, which is the lowest since March 2020.
The testing capacity across the country continues to be expanded. The last 24 hours saw a total of 11,65,887 tests being conducted. India has so far conducted over 66.98 crore (66,98,09,816) cumulative tests.
While testing capacity has been enhanced across the country, Weekly Positivity Rate at 0.59 pr cent remains less than 1 per cent for the last 40 days now. The daily positivity rate is reported to be 0.57 per cent. The daily positivity rate has remained below 2 per cent for last 81 days and below 3 per cent for 116 consecutive days now.

Over 60 pc eligible population in India fully vaccinated against COVID: Union Health Ministry

New Delhi [India]: Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that over 60 per cent of the eligible population in India has been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
Taking to Twitter, the Ministry said, “Accomplishing more new feats! Congratulations India. Aided by public participation & dedicated efforts of our health workers, over 60 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated now.”
The Ministry, in a press release, informed that with the administration of 70,17,671 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 139.70 crore (1,39,69,76,774).
Meanwhile, India has reported 7,495 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.
According to the Ministry, 236 cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been reported in the country so far. Out of this, Maharashtra topped the list with 65 confirmed cases followed by Delhi with 64 cases and Telangana with 24 cases. Of the 213 cases, 104 patients have recovered from the virus.
With the recovery of 6,960 patients in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tally of COVID recovered patients, since the beginning of the pandemic, now stand at 3,42,08,926.
As many as 434 Covid deaths have also been reported in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative death toll from the virus to 4,78,759.
The Ministry also informed that India’s active caseload presently is at 78,291, constituting 0.23 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.
In a press statement, the Ministry said that in the last 24 hours, a total of 12,05,775 COVID tests were conducted.
“India has so far conducted over 66.86 crore (66,86,43,929) cumulative tests,” the release informed.
“While testing capacity has been enhanced across the country, weekly positivity rate at 0.59 per cent remains less than 1 per cent for the last 39 days now. The daily positivity rate has been reported to be 0.62 per cent. The daily positivity rate has remained below 2 per cent for the last 80 days and below 3 per cent for 115 consecutive days now,” it added.

WHO approves emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine Covovax

Geneva [Switzerland]: The World Health Organization (WHO) said it had approved the Covovax coronavirus vaccine, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India under license from US company Novavax, for emergency use.
“Today, the World Health Organization issued and emergency use listing (EUL) for NVX-CoV2373, expanding the basket of WHO-validated vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine, named CovovaxTM, is produced by the Serum Institute of India under licence from Novavax and is part of the COVAX facility portfolio, giving a much-needed boost to ongoing efforts to vaccinate more people in lower-income countries,” the global health body said in a statement. WHO approval is a prerequisite for being on the COVAX drug list, as well as for international procurement.
According to the statement, Covovax was assessed under the WHO EUL procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety and efficacy, a risk management plan, programmatic suitability, and manufacturing site inspections carried out by the Drugs Controller General of India.
The Technical Advisory Group for Emergency Use Listing (TAG-EUL), convened by WHO and made up of experts from around the world, has determined that the vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19, that the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs any risks, and that the vaccine can be used globally.
Covavax is the Indian version of the Novavax vaccine brought in India by the Serum Institute of India for children.

China’s Sinovac booster shot is 94 pc efficient against Omicron, claims company

Beijing [China]: China’s biotech firm Sinovac claimed that a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is 94 per cent effective against the Omicron variant of the COVID-19.
This comes a day after a study found that the two doses of the vaccine failed to generate any detectable antibody response against the fast-spreading variant. The study was conducted by the company on 20 people who received two shots and another 48 who received three shots. Seven in the first group and 45 in the second tested positive in neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant, the company said in a statement to the Global Times.
Sinovac said that the data demonstrated that the administration of a booster shot of its vaccine can effectively enhance the vaccine’s neutralizing capacity to the Omicron variant, read the statement.
The company’s findings are in contrast with those released on Tuesday in a preprint paper by the HKU researchers.
The university study also examined neutralising antibodies, one arm of immune response that serves as a rough marker for protection against infection.
Of 25 people who received a full two-dose course of CoronaVac, none were found to have detectable levels of neutralising antibodies, according to study author and top infectious disease expert Yuen Kwok-yung and his team.
The Omicron variant, first discovered in early November, has been reported in 77 countries and regions, according to the World Health Organization.

UN agency begins COVID vaccine rollout for 7,500 stranded migrants in Yemen

Geneva [Switzerland]: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has begun a COVID-19 vaccination campaign for migrants stranded in Yemen.
The goal is to inoculate around 7,500 people at its Migrant Response Points in Aden and Ma’rib. IOM’s Chief of Mission, Christa Rottensteiner, explained that “immunizing people on the move is key to combatting the spread of the disease.”
An estimated 36,000 migrants have been stranded on their journeys due to mobility restrictions, nearly 3,500 in Ma’rib alone. Many are sleeping in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions where the virus can easily spread.
“Vaccinating against COVID-19 is even more crucial in places like Ma’rib where ongoing conflict continues to weaken health facilities and disrupt the supply chain for medicines,” Rottensteiner said.
According to her, there are still not enough doses to protect everyone in Yemen from this disease.
“More support from the international community to supply the country with enough vaccines will save lives”, she said.
So far, the pandemic has had severe consequences for the health, well-being and income of people in Yemen. COVID-19 has compounded the multiple crises already raging due to the on going conflict which erupted in 2015, between rebel Houthi forces, together with their allies, and a Saudi-led coalition, that supports the internationally-recognized Government.
As of 12 December, there have been more than 10,000 cases reported in the country, but it’s difficult to assess the real impact because of limited testing and reporting.
Since April, IOM has been supporting efforts by the Ministry of Health to vaccinate at-risk and hard-to-reach populations. They have included health workers, people with chronic illnesses and elderly citizens.
One Ethiopian migrant who received the vaccine in Aden, Naima Mohammed, told the agency he had one family member die from COVID-19 last year.
Since then, he has come to the Migrant Response Point several times to get the facts about protection measures, such as handwashing and mask wearing.
“Now that I’m vaccinated, I’m more protected”, he said.

Nepal receives 19,65,600 doses of Moderna vaccine under COVAX facility

Kathmandu [Nepal]: Nepal on Sunday received 19,65,600 doses of Moderna vaccine from the COVAX facility, the third consignment and part of the 37,12,000 doses of the American vaccine committed by the facility, reported local media.
“We received 19,65,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine from the COVAX facility today (Sunday),” The Kathmandu Post quoted senior officer at the Logistic Management Section under the Department of Health Services, Badebabu Thapa, as saying. These vaccine doses will be administered to children between 12 and 17 years in Nepal’s 57 districts from December 20, the country’s Ministry of Health and Population said.
Chief of the National Immunisation Programme, Sagar Dahal, told The Kathmandu Post that preparations are underway to roll out the Moderna vaccine from December 20 and students will be jabbed at their respective schools.
Under the COVAX facility, Nepal received 1,88,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine on December 4 and 14,97,600 doses of the vaccine on December 9.
For Nepal, the Moderna is the fifth COVID-19 vaccine which the country is going to use after AstraZeneca, Vero Cell, Janssen and Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines.

Nigeria mulls buying Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, getting shot as donation

Moscow [Russia]: Nigeria is considering the procurement of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, but does not exclude the option of receiving it from Russia as a donation, Nigerian Ambassador in Moscow Abdullahi Shehu told Sputnik in his first interview since taking office.
“You see there are two ways, either Nigeria will make a budget to acquire or maybe the Russian government can donate as part of its technical assistance to Nigeria. So … we are putting two options on the table. As Nigeria has already approved the use of Sputnik V in our country but we have not concluded discussions as to whether Russia will support Nigeria as part of technical assistance or Nigeria will have to purchase the Sputnik V,” Shehu said. Nigeria’s national drug regulator authorized the use of the Russian vaccine in mid-July. To date, Sputnik V has been authorized in 71 countries with a total population of 4 billion people.

France confirms 8 Omicron variant cases

Paris [France] : The number of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has reached eight, the French public health agency said.
The first Omicron infection case was detected in the French overseas department of Reunion on Tuesday. The next day, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said that 13 suspected cases have been identified throughout the country. “Eight confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in France as of 12/02 at 16:00 [15:00 GMT],” the Public Health France said in a COVID-19 situation update issued late on Thursday.
The institute said numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations and critical care patients were on the rise.
As of Friday, France has confirmed over 7.8 million coronavirus cases and more than 120,000 related fatalities.
To date, 77.4 per cent of the French population has been administered at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, and 75.8 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

Restrict non-vaccinated people from coming in public: TN health min to officials

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India]: Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Wednesday said that the government has instructed officials to take steps to restrict movement of non-vaccinated people.
Speaking to ANI, Subramanian said, “We have instructed district collectors to take steps on restrictions for non-vaccinated people and ensure that they do not come in public places. We want to ensure that people get vaccinated without fail.” He further said, “In Kanyakumari, customers at government liquor shops will get liquor only if they are vaccinated.”

SII seeks approval for Covishield vaccine as booster dose amid Omicron variant concerns

New Delhi [India]: The Serum Institute of India (SII) has sought India’s drug regulator’s approval for the Covishield vaccine as a booster dose citing adequate stock of the vaccine in the country, officials informed ANI on Thursday. According to the officials, the demand has been made due to the emergence of a new coronavirus variant ‘Omicron’.
The Serum Institute of India is the first Indian company to seek approval for the COVID-19 booster dose.
The Union government has also informed the Parliament that the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 are considering scientific evidence on the booster dose.
States like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Kerala have also urged the Central government for booster dose amid another variant of concern, Omicron.
Recently, in an interview with a media organisation, Adar Poonawalla, the Chief Executive Officer of SII said that the scientists at Oxford may come out with a new vaccine that would act as a booster in six months’ time against this new variant.
The new Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by South Africa on November 24. According to the WHO, its high number of mutations in spike protein could make it more transmissible than all previous strains. South African medical officials have reported the variant was found in fully vaccinated individuals and the cases are mild.

India’s vaccination coverage crosses 121 crore

New Delhi [India]: India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed 122 crore landmark milestone (122,34,81,344) on Sunday. More than 36 lakh (36,58,756) Vaccine Doses were administered till 7 pm on Sunday. The daily vaccination tally is expected to increase with the compilation of the final reports for the day, said a press release from the Ministry of Health.
The recovery of 9,481 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients (since the beginning of the pandemic) to 3,39,98,278. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.34 crore.
Sustained and collaborative efforts by the Centre and the States/UTs continue the trend of less than 50,000 Daily New Cases that is being reported for 154 consecutive days now.
8,774 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours.
The Active Caseload presently stands at 1,05,691. Active cases presently constitute 0.31% of the country’s total Positive Cases, which is the lowest since March 2020.
The testing capacity across the country continues to be expanded. The last 24 hours saw a total of
10,91,236 tests were being conducted. India has so far conducted over 63.94 crore (63,94,27,262) cumulative tests.
While testing capacity has been enhanced across the country, Weekly Positivity Rate at 0.85 per cent remains less than 1 per cent for the last 14 days now. The Daily Positivity rate was reported being 0.80 per cent. The daily Positivity rate has remained below 2% for the last 55 days and below 3 per cent for 90 consecutive days now.

Pfizer, BioNTech not sure on vaccines’ effectiveness on new COVID variant ‘Omicron’

Washington [US]: The pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech on Saturday issued a statement stating that they are not sure whether their vaccines would be able to help in the treatment of the new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’.
The companies also promised to develop a new vaccine against the variant in about 100 days, Sputnik reported. This came after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it identified a new COVID-19 strain, the B.1.1.529 that was initially found in southern Africa. WHO named the variant with the Greek letter ‘Omicron’.
“In the event that vaccine-escape variant emerges, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval,” they added in the statement.
As reported by Sputnik, Pfizer and BioNTech said they expect more data on Omicron within the next two weeks and noted the variant significantly differs from previously observed ones, according to the statement.
The pharmaceutical companies underscored that they started working on making their vaccine adaptable to new possible variants months ago, adding that their vaccine is currently able to adjust itself within six weeks and ship initial batches within 100 days, the statement said.
In similar developments, amid the spread of the Omicron variant, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Saturday postponed the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), that was set to take place in Geneva.
As precautionary measures to contact the spread of the new variant, India on Friday added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing for infection.
The US along with European Union and other major destinations have also moved to block flights from several African countries, CNN reported.

Serum Institute of India resumes exports of COVID-19 vaccine under COVAX programme

Pune (Maharashtra) [India]: Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday resumed the exports of its COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ to the international COVID vaccine sharing programme COVAX.
The first batches of Covishield left the SII manufacturing facility in Pune earlier today, for distribution to low and middle-income countries via the COVAX mechanism. SII’s supply of doses via COVAX is expected to increase substantially in Quarter 1 of 2022. Taking to Twitter, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India said, “I am pleased to announce, that the much-awaited COVAX supplies will resume today from Serum Institute of India. This will go a long way in restoring vaccine supply equality in the world and especially in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries).”
According to SII, the resumption of exports is linked to SII surpassing its original target to produce 1billion doses of Covishield by the end of this year. SII has reached this milestone ahead of time via rapid expansion of production capacity at its site in Pune.
To bolster its COVID-19 vaccine output even further, SII said it will bring into production other vaccines under licence. These include COVOVAX, from US-based company Novavax, which received its first Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from regulators in Indonesia and the Philippines this month. Further regulatory reviews are pending for COVOVAX in India and with the World Health Organization. Novavax has also submitted several additional regulatory filings for its vaccine around the world.
Poonawalla said, “I want to thank our workforce for their superhuman efforts in achieving this major milestone, with 1 billion doses of COVISHIELD now produced by SII. We started to invest at-risk in COVID-19 vaccine production back in March 2020 and Serum Institute colleagues have worked tirelessly ever since to get these life-saving doses to people. It is a huge moment to begin exports again, for us, our partners at COVAX and the low and middle-income countries we support. The world has largely depended on the low-cost, high-quality pharmaceuticals and vaccines that India has traditionally exported, so we are delighted to support the global vaccination effort once more.”
Earlier, the Government of India had allowed the SII to start the supply of vaccines to other countries in the world. The supply of COVID vaccines to other countries was banned by the government in April this year.
UNICEF welcomed India’s decision to resume COVID-19 vaccine export to COVAX.
“It is much-needed critical support that can help countries of the world to be protected and to recover from the pandemic. As long as the pandemic lingers, its adverse effects will continue on essential services such as health, education and protection for children and young people. Vaccines sharing through COVAX can help tackle the crisis. The global society and countries are dependent on each other to emerge from the pandemic, together. India’s recent move to share doses is an encouraging one. We are keen to see the plan in action and other countries benefiting from it,” said Yasumasa Kimura, UNICEF India Representative.

15 more countries recognise India’s COVID-19 vaccination certificate

New Delhi [India]: As many as fifteen more countries have recognised India’s COVID-19 vaccination certificate, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed late on Thursday.
“Mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates continues! Fifteen more recognitions for India’s vaccination certificate,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted. “Mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates with India: Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Palestine, Philippines, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine,” MEA said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had said that nearly 100 countries have agreed to the Mutual Acceptance of vaccination certificates of India’s COVID vaccines and vaccination process.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had said the Union Government is in communication with the rest of the world so that beneficiaries of the world’s largest COVID vaccination program gets accepted and recognized, thereby easing travel for education, business and tourism purposes.
The Union Health Ministry along with the MEA is in continuous communication with all countries for mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, and WHO and nationally approved vaccines to facilitate hassle-free international travel across countries.

Delhi HC seeks Centre’s response on booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine

New Delhi [India]: The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre to file an affidavit on the aspects of the administration of booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine necessary or not and the timeline within which the same is proposed to be rolled out.
A Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh asked the Centre to file a reply on the aspects relating to the booster disease of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Court also asked the Centre to mention the timeline when the booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine, if concerned necessary, to be rolled out in the Aarogya Setu app. “Let the Union of India file an affidavit for the administration of booster dose and timeline within which it is proposed to be rolled out on the Aarogya Setu app if it is necessary,” the Court said.
The Court’s remark came while observing growing advocacy of booster dose in the West.
The Court stressed upon the efficacy of the booster dose for those who have been fully vaccinated. The Court noted that medical view which indicates fall of immunity against disease after some time, which is raising concerns on people at large, particularly, falling in the old age bracket and those suffering from other diseases are anxious whether they require a booster dose.
The Court also noted that a huge batch of vaccines is not used or not utilised.
Delhi High Court was hearing various issues concerning to COVID-19 crisis. During the course of the hearing, Amicus Curiae Rajshekhar Rao flagged various issues including the functioning of the delhifightscorona.in. The website is maintained by the Delhi Government. Therefore the Court has sought a status report on this aspect and asked the government to ensure that the system put in place should continue to work efficiently.

Over 21.65 cr unutilized COVID-19 vaccine doses available with States, UTs

New Delhi [India] : The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Wednesday said that more than 21.65 crore balance and unutilized COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and union territories to be administered.
The ministry further stated that over 131crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been provided to the states and UTs so far. “As many as 1,31,62,03,540 vaccine doses have been provided to States and UTs so far through Government of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category. 21,65,09,916 balance and unutilized COVID Vaccine doses are still available with the States and UTs to be administered,” the ministry said.
The new phase of universalization of COVID-19 vaccination commenced on June 21, 2021.
The vaccination drive has been ramped up through the availability of more vaccines, advanced visibility of vaccine availability to States and UTs for enabling better planning by them and streamlining the vaccine supply chain.
As part of the nationwide vaccination drive, the Government of India has been supporting the States and UTs by providing them COVID Vaccines free of cost.
In the new phase of the universalization of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, the Union Government will procure and supply (free of cost) 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the vaccine manufacturers in the country to States and UTs.
Meanwhile, India reported 9,283 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
With this, the active caseload of the infection stands at 1,11,481, which is the lowest in 537 days.
As many as 437 people have succumbed to the COVID-19 infection in the country in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 4,66,584.

Serum Institute of India to start Covishield supply to COVAX countries

Pune (Maharashtra) [India]: The Serum Institute of India (SII) will start COVID-19 vaccines supply to COVAX countries soon, sources said on Monday. Serum Institute of India was supposed to start Covishield vaccine supply to COVAX countries from Monday, after it received approval from the government of India, to supply COVID vaccines to other countries.
“The first consignment from the Pune facility of Serum Institute of India was scheduled to leave for Nepal today. However, due to some reason, it has been delayed by two to three days,” said SII sources.
“However the clarity on the exact date of the consignment dispatch is still awaited,” sources added.
Earlier, the government of India has allowed the SII to start the supply of vaccines to other countries in the world. The supply of COVID vaccines to other countries was banned by the government in April this year.
Earlier, in a tweet Serum Institute of India’s chairman, Adar Poonawala had said that around 200 million doses of Covishield are stockpiled with the states in India.
Being the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines, SII now produces over 120 million doses of Covishield every month, and according to some sources, there are over 150 million doses stockpiled in the manufecturer’sshalini bhardwaj Pune facility.

UNICEF opens largest Central Asia vaccine warehouse in Uzbekistan

Tashkent [Uzbekistan]: The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Saturday opened the largest warehouse for multitemperature storage of vaccines for the region of Central Asia in Uzbekistan.
“Today, on World Children’s Day, UNICEF handed over the Republican Cold Chain Warehouse, the largest vaccine facility in Central Asia, to the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan. The opening of this new facility, which will allow storing large numbers of vaccines with different temperature requirements including ultra-cold temperatures,” UNICEF Uzbekistan said. UNICEF assisted the Uzbek health ministry with equipping the facility with three cold rooms of 1,000 cubic meters (35,315 cubic feet), ultracold freezers with 3,000-litre capacity (792 gallons), freezers of 40 cubic meters, and dry storage for immunization supplies.
“We expect this warehouse to become a logistics hub for the entire national immunization programme, and to multiply our capacity to supply and manage vaccines,” Uzbek Health Minister Behzod Musaev said, as quoted in the UNICEF statement.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNICEF has sent 223 vehicles for vaccine transportation, as well as vaccination syringes to Uzbekistan. In September, the fund delivered eight ultracold freezers for Pfizer vaccines storage. Additionally, Uzbekistan has received about 5.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through the UN-led COVAX program, which makes vaccine shots available to low- and mid-income countries at the expense of higher-income countries.
On April 1, Uzbekistan launched the COVID-19 vaccination drive. Since then, over 15 million people have received at least one shot, which corresponds to 70 per cent of all adults. In late September, the Uzbek authorities approved Pfizer vaccine for teenagers over 12, and over 330 adolescents have been voluntarily vaccinated against COVID-19 to date.

Japan tops G-7 chart with highest fully vaccinated population

Tokyo [Japan]: Topping charts among the Group of Seven industrialized nations (G-7), Japan has so far vaccinated 75.7 per cent of its population with two COVID-19 shots, reported local media.
Japan has successfully immunized its 125 million populations with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, reported Kyodo News citing government sources. Leaving Canada behind, which earlier was at the top with a 75.5 per cent vaccination rate, Japan has left behind other G-7 nations including the US, Germany, France, and Britain.
According to the government records, 195.32 million COVID-19 vaccination shots have been administered so far, with 99.4 million having received the first shot, reported Kyodo News. Among the people of age group 65 and above, over 91 per cent are fully vaccinated.
With ramped-up vaccination drive in Japan, which commenced earlier this year has resulted in the significant plunge of new COVID-19 cases. Coming down from the peak of 25,000 in a day, reported in August this year, Japan reported merely 163 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, reported Kyodo News.
Citing government sources, Kyodo News reported that Japan has been witnessing a lesser number of severe COVID-19 cases, coming down to 76 on Thursday.
While Canada has vaccinated the maximum number of people (79 per cent) with the first vaccination dose. Eight countries including Spain and Singapore, which are not a part of G-7 have a higher score of fully vaccinated population, that is 80.2 per cent and 91.9 per cent, respectively, reported Kyodo News.

India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage crosses 114.46 cr

New Delhi [India]: India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed 114.46 crores, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.
“With the administration of 73,44,739 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage is 1,14,46,32,851 as per provisional reports till 7 am today,” said the Ministry’s statement. As many as 1,17,53,091 sessions have been administered so far.
Meanwhile, India reported 11,919 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.
With this, India’s active caseload stands at 1,28,762. The active cases account for less than 1 per cent of total cases, currently at 0.37 per cent, the lowest since March 2020.
With 11,242 people recovering in the last 24 hours, the recovery tally has gone up to 3,38,85,132. The recovery rate is currently at 98.28 per cent, the highest since March 2020.
The country also reported 470 deaths in a day. With this, the death toll has gone up to 4,64,623.

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy greatest threat in overcoming pandemic, says Adar Poonawalla

New Delhi [India]: Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla on Wednesday said that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is the greatest threat in overcoming the pandemic. The SII chief also urged all the adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“The vaccine industry has worked tirelessly to provide enough stocks for the nation. Today there are over 200 million doses available with states. Vaccine hesitancy is now the greatest threat in overcoming this pandemic.” he added.
SII is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and has manufactured hundreds of millions of doses of Covishield. The company has also exported the COVID-19 vaccine to the WHO-backed COVAX under the Government of India’s Vaccine Maitri initiative.
Recently, the Centre has launched the program ‘Har ghar dastak’ campaign which aims to ensure that all the adult population is covered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
In an interactive session, Dr Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary of the Union Health Ministry also said that the target is to reach at least 90 per cent single-dose vaccination.
Dr Agnani also stressed on the importance of taking both the vaccine doses.

62.82 cr samples tested for COVID

New Delhi [India]: India’s testing capacity has been ramped up extensively and it has conducted 62,82,48,841 COVID-19 tests so far, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Thursday.

Of the total testing done so far 12,32,505 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, India on Wednesday reported 10,197 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The country also reported 12,134 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery tally to 3,38,73,890. The recovery rate is currently at 98.28 per cent, which is the highest since March 2020.

India’s active caseload stands at 1,28,555, the lowest in 527 days. The active cases account for less than 1 per cent of total cases, currently at 0.37 per cent and it is the lowest since March 2020.

More than 113.68 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the Nationwide Vaccination Drive. (ANI)

UK extends COVID-19 booster vaccine to people over 40 years old

London [UK]: The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) on Monday announced that people over 40 years old living in the United Kingdom will now be eligible to receive a booster COVID-19 vaccine six months after having their second dose, as a new study showed that boosters give over 90% protection in adults over 50.

“JCVI has previously advised booster vaccination for all adults aged 50 years and over and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group. The offer has now been broadened to include those aged 40 to 49 years,” the committee said in a statement.
The booster vaccines to be offered to this new age group are Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the same mRNA-type vaccine that is being used since September in people over 50 and at higher risk from the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. So far, more than 12,6 million people in the UK have had the third dose.

According to a study released on Monday by the UK Health Security Agency, two weeks after receiving a booster dose, protection against symptomatic infection in adults aged 50 years and over was 93.1% in those who first had AstraZeneca as their primary vaccine and 94.0% for Pfizer-BioNTech.

The JCVI also advised that all 16- to 17-year-olds who are not in an at-risk group should be offered a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine 12 weeks or more following the first vaccine dose. (ANI/Sputnik)

Israel approves COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11

Tel Aviv [Israel]: Nachman Ash, director-general of the Israeli health ministry, on Sunday approved the expert panel’s recommendation to start COVID-19 vaccination for children aged five to 11.
According to a statement issued by the ministry, the recommendation approved by Ash was made on Wednesday by the ministry’s vaccination advisory committee and pandemic response team. The starting date of the vaccination for this age group will be determined in the coming days, the ministry statement said.
“Most experts believed that the level of benefit in administering the vaccine at these ages outweighed the risk involved,” Ash noted.
Earlier in the day, Israel’s national coronavirus czar Salman Zarka told the state-owned Kan Radio that vaccine doses for children will arrive in Israel this week.
Today, the minimum eligibility age for receiving the vaccine in Israel is 12, having been gradually lowered from 65 since the start of the general vaccination campaign in the country on December 20, 2020.

Australian COVID-19 cases fall to recent low amid battle against 3rd wave

Canberra [Australia] : Australia has reported its fewest daily COVID-19 cases in recent weeks as the country continues to battle the third wave of infections.
There were 1,115 new locally-acquired cases and five deaths from the pandemic reported across Australia on Sunday morning. The majority of new cases were in Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, where 905 cases and four deaths were reported.
As of Saturday 90.4 percent of Australians aged 16 and over had received one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 83 percent were fully inoculated, according to the Department of Health.
More than 250,000 Australians have had a third booster shot.
As the booster rollout accelerates Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday said the government would not change its definition of “fully vaccinated”.
“The advice at this stage of Professor Brendan Murphy’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Group is that you’re regarded as fully vaccinated with two doses,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television.

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin phase 3 data shows 77.8 pc efficacy against COVID-19, says Lancet

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India]: Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech on Friday announced that the Lancet peer-review confirmed the efficacy analysis of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
As per phase-three clinical trials data, Covaxin demonstrates 77.8 per cent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19. “COVAXIN is the only COVID-19 vaccine to have demonstrated efficacy data from phase III clinical trials against the delta variant at 65.2 per cent,” the official statement issued by Bharat Biotech said citing the study by the Lancet.
“Efficacy analysis demonstrates Covaxin to be 77.8 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19, through evaluation of 130 confirmed cases, with 24 observed in the vaccine group versus 106 in the placebo group,” said the company’s statement.
Further, it said that Covaxin will be 93.4 per cent effective against severe symptomatic COVID-19.
“Safety analysis demonstrates adverse events reported were similar to placebo, with 12 per cent of subjects experiencing commonly known side effects and less than 0.5 per cent of subjects experiencing serious adverse events,” it said.
“Efficacy data demonstrates 63.6 per cent protection against asymptomatic COVID-19, 65.2 per cent protection against the SARS-CoV-2, B.1.617.2 Delta and 70.8 per cent protection against all variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Bharat Biotech added.
Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Bharat Biotech said, “The data from our product development and clinical trials have been published in 10 peer-reviewed journals, making Covaxin one of the most highly published COVID-19 vaccines in the world,” he said.
“I am delighted to see that the phase III efficacy data has also been published in the Lancet. This itself speaks high about the strong position of Covaxin amongst other global front-runners COVID-19 vaccines,” Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.
“The bench to bedside journey of Covaxin in less than 10 months showcases the immense strength of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” along with the Indian academia and industry in fighting against the odds and carving a niche in the global community,” Bhargava added.
Recently, the World Health Organization granted emergency use listing to Covaxin enabling countries to expedite their regulatory approval to import and administer doses. It has also received emergency use authorizations in several countries with applications in process in more than 50 countries worldwide, the statement added.

Assam to launch COVID-19 vaccination drive to achieve 100 pc administration of first dose by month-end

Guwahati (Assam) [India]: With an aim to achieve 100 per cent administration of the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the state, the Assam government is set to launch a new vaccination campaign from November 22 to 27 for those yet to get vaccinated.
“First dose vaccination is around 94-95 per cent (completed). We’ll complete the first dose this month… and go from village to village to verify whether 100 per cent vaccination has been done,” said Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. “If we complete the first dose this month, we will complete the second dose in February,” he added.
Under this drive, vaccination will take place at every polling booth in the state and every booth would be headed by a gazetted officer. These officers will visit households under the purview of their respective booths to ensure everyone is at least vaccinated with their first dose.
Assam Ministers, including Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, will supervise the drive.
As per the officials, after the completion of the drive, for the next two days (November 28-29) paperwork will be done, and the certificates will be issued.
After the drive, the names of those left to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be uploaded on the website for the district officials to follow.
For the next three months, the state will work to attain the completion of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccination.
As per the Union Health Ministry’s data, over 2.03 crore (2,03,60,763) people in Assam have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while the second dose has been administered to over 91 lakh (91,31,540) people.

India reports 13,091 fresh COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours

New Delhi [India] : India reported 13,091 fresh COVID-19 cases and 340 fatalities in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Thursday.
Of this, Kerala reported 7,540 new COVID-19 cases and 211 fatalities. The total cases reported in the country so far mounted to 3,44,01,670 with the active caseload standing at 1,38,556, which is the lowest in 266 days. Active cases account for less than one per cent of the total cases.
Further, 13,878 recoveries were reported during the past 24 hours thereby mounting the recovery tally to 3,38,00,925. With this, the recovery rate currently stands at 98.25 per cent which is the highest since March 2020.
The daily positivity rate stands at 1.10 per cent which is less than two per cent for the last 38 days. The weekly positivity rate stood at 1.18 per cent and has been less than two per cent for the last 48 days.
With the addition of new fatalities, the death toll rose to 4,62,189. Over 61.99 crore total COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the country so far.
Meanwhile, more than 110.23 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Delhi govt sets up COVID-19 vaccination camp for devotees near Chhath puja ghat

New Delhi [India]: In a unique initiative, the Delhi Government set up a COVID-19 vaccination camp for devotees near a Chhath puja ghat in the Gavdi locality of Bhajanpura in the national capital.
“The camp has been organized for those who have not taken the vaccine or whose second dose is due. Around 8,000 people are offering prayers here,” said Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Sharat Kumar. Meanwhile, the devotees in the national capital were compelled to make offerings to Sun God while standing in knee-deep water of the toxic foam-laden Yamuna river.

The four-day-long Chhath festival concluded today with the ‘Usha Arghya’ (prayers to the rising sun).
Devotees gathered on the bank of ghats across the country to perform the ‘Usha Arghya’ in various parts of the country.
This year, the Chhath festival began on November 8 with the ‘Nahai Khai’ ritual and concluded today with devotees performing ‘Usha Arghya’.

US reopens land, air borders to foreign visitors fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from today

Washington [US]: After 20 months of travel restrictions, the US is reopening its land and air borders to foreign visitors fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from Monday.
The United States is flinging its doors wide open to vaccinated international travellers on Monday, welcoming many visitors who’ve been shut out of the country for 20 months, reported CNN. The United States is largely wide open, although there are some state and local restrictions that still apply.
For example, there are mask mandates in Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Washington, DC and Puerto Rico also require masks in indoor public spaces.
In some cities, including New York and San Francisco, there are vaccine requirements for indoor public spaces including restaurants, reported CNN.
Hawaii, which had some of the strictest entry requirements in the US, will now align with the new federal rules for international air travel. Although capacity restrictions in the state are easing, there are still some limits in place.
Getting vaccinated is the key requirement for the vast majority of international travellers hoping to enter the United States, reported CNN.
Children under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement. The CDC has the full slate of air travel requirements on its website.
Travellers must meet CDC criteria for being “fully vaccinated.” Paper and digital documentation are acceptable. Airlines are responsible for gathering and verifying this information from air travellers.
Air travellers also need a negative COVID-19 test. Testing is required of all fully vaccinated air travellers ages 2 and up, regardless of nationality. Passengers are required to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of their flight’s departure for the United States.
Unvaccinated Americans and a very limited number of unvaccinated international travellers exempted from the vaccination requirement must test within one day of departing for the US.
Many airlines have mobile apps and portals on their websites where vaccination and testing information can be processed digitally, reported CNN.
Customs and Border Protection anticipates an increase in travel volumes and wait times at land and ferry crossings and is encouraging travellers to have their identification and vaccination documents ready. The agency also encourages travellers to use its CBP One app.
Staffing levels will be at pre-Covid levels, according to CBP, but the agency will be balancing multiple priorities.
“Trade and travel facilitation remain a priority,” a Department of Homeland Security Q&A about the new policy says. “However, we cannot compromise national security which is our primary mission.”
Digital and paper documentation is acceptable for proof of vaccination, and vaccine cards do not need to be in English.
Travellers should be prepared to attest to their vaccination status and reason for travel. They should also be prepared to show proof of being fully vaccinated if requested by a CBP officer.
Children under 18 travelling with vaccinated adults are exempt from the vaccination requirement.
Covid tests are not required at land and ferry crossings. The web of rules and requirements to travel internationally right now is undeniably tangled, reported CNN.
US health authorities have said all vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization would be accepted for entry by air.
At the moment, this includes the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Covaxin, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

Hundreds join protests against mandatory vaccination across Australia

Canberra [Australia]: Rallies against mandatory vaccination were held throughout Australia on Sunday, national media reported.
The peaceful protests were held across the state of New South Wales (NSW) as part of the ‘Reclaim The Line’ rally, with people carrying signs that read: “No mandatory vaccine,” 9News reported. Adelaide in the state of South Australia and the Gold Coast in the state of Queensland also saw the start of anti mandatory vaccination demonstrations on Sunday.
Meanwhile on Saturday, massive anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protests took place in Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, and Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory, where protests got violent and seven people were arrested.
People could be heard chanting phrases like “free Victoria” and “sack Dan Andrews” in Melbourne as they marched towards the Parliament House to rally against mandatory vaccination and a proposed COVID-19 pandemic bill, which would see COVID-19 rules remain in action during other global pandemics.
As of Sunday, Australia’s total number of active coronavirus cases stands at over 19,000 with the majority of infected in Victoria. Over 80% of people aged over 16 are fully vaccinated nationwide. Australia is lifting COVID-19 restrictions state by state. Recently, NSW and Victoria ended monthlong lockdowns after reaching vaccination targets.

COVID-19 affects 250 million people worldwide in last 24 hours

Hanoi [Vietnam] : The world had recorded 250.2 million COVID-19 infections as of 4 pm on Sunday, including more than 5 million deaths, according to worldometers.com.
The US is the hardest hit country with 47.3 million infections and 775,000 deaths. India ranked second with more than 34.3 million cases and 460,787 deaths, followed by Brazil with 21.8 million infections and 609,417 deaths. China will continue to implement strict COVID-19 control measures and a “zero tolerance” policy, a senior official of China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Saturday.
He said China’s strict policy is prompt to the current conditions in the country and scientific philosophy behind pandemic prevention and control. In the past weeks, China had reported 918 cases in 44 cities across 20 provinces with viral chains linked back to multiple imported sources which are unrelated to each other.
On Sunday, China recorded 55 new cases, including 40 cases of community transmission.
The rate of COVID-19 infection among kids is rising in Russia, said Health Minister Mikhail Murashko during a working trip to Russia’s Ryazan Region on Saturday. He said that a Sputnik V-based vaccine has been developed for protecting children, with its expertise nearing completion now. 

US court temporarily halts Biden’s vaccine mandate for companies

Washington [US] : A US federal appeals court has ruled to temporarily halt a mandate by President Joe Biden’s administration that required employees of large companies to get vaccinated or undergo frequent testing.
According to the mandate, employees of companies with a workforce of 100 or more must be fully vaccinated by Jan 4. Unvaccinated employees must submit weekly negative COVID-19 tests to enter the workplace after the deadline, and have to wear masks indoors at their workplaces starting December 5. Issued by three judges from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit who were appointed by Republican presidents, the order reasoned that “there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate” and suspended the mandate “pending further action by this court.”
The court order came after a joint petition against the mandate from several Republican-led states as well as several private companies.
In response to the petition, the Labor Department’s top lawyer, Seema Nanda, said Friday that the department was “confident in its legal authority” to issue the mandate, which will be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA has the authority “to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them,” she said, adding the administration was “fully prepared to defend this standard in court.”

India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 108.21 cr

New Delhi [India] : With the administration of 28,40,174 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 108.21 crore (1,08,21,66,365) as per provisional reports till 7 am on Sunday, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Sustained and collaborative efforts by the Centre and the States, UTs continue the trend of less than 50,000 Daily New Cases that are being reported for 133consecutive days now. Meanwhile, India reported 10,853 new cases in the last 24 hours.
With new cases, the active caseload is presently at 1,44,845 which is the lowest in 260 days. Active cases presently constitute 0.42% of the country’s total Positive Cases, which is the lowest since March 2020 according to the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare early Sunday.
The testing capacity across the country continues to be expanded. The last 24 hours saw a total of 9,19,996 tests being conducted. India has so far conducted over61.48 Cr (61,48,85,747) cumulative tests.
While testing capacity has been enhanced across the country, the weekly positivity rate at 1.28 per cent remains less than 2 per cent for the last 44 days now. The daily positivity rate was reported to be 1.18 per cent. The daily positivity rate has remained below 2 per cent for the last 34 days and below 3 per cent for 69 consecutive days now.

Over 107.92 cr COVID-19 vaccine doses administered so far in India

New Delhi [India] : India has administered over 107.92 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses so far under the nationwide vaccination drive, the Ministry for Health and Family Welfare informed on Saturday.
As per the ministry, 1,07,92,19,546 vaccines doses have been administered in the country so far. Meanwhile, India reported 10,929 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The country’s active caseload stands at 1,46,950 the lowest in 255 days.
Active cases account for less than one per cent of total cases, currently at 0.43 per cent, lowest since March 2020.
With 12,509 recoveries in the last 24 hours, the total recoveries in the country have been increased to 3,37,37,468. The recovery rate is currently at 98.23 per cent which is the highest since March 2020.
The daily positivity rate is 1.35 per cent which is less than two per cent for the last 33 days and the weekly positivity rate stands at 1.27 per cent which is less than two per cent for the last 43 days.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 8,10,783 samples were tested for the presence of the virus in the last 24 hours taking the cumulative tests conducted in the country to 61,39,65,751.

Pfizer says its COVID-19 oral antiviral candidate reduces risk of hospitalisation by 89pc

New York [US]: American pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced on Friday that its investigational COVID-19 oral antiviral candidate, Paxlovid, showed an 89 per cent reduction in hospitalisation or lethal cases in high-risk patients.
“The scheduled interim analysis showed an 89% reduction in risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization or death from any cause compared to placebo in patients treated within three days of symptom onset (primary endpoint),” Pfizer said in a statement. None of the patients who received Paxlovid died during the testing that lasted 28 days, compared with 10 deaths (1.6%) among those who received a placebo.
“Today’s news is a real game-changer in the global efforts to halt the devastation of this pandemic. These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved or authorized by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, and eliminate up to nine out of ten hospitalizations,” Albert Bourla, the chairman and the CEO at Pfizer, said.
Pfizer plans now to submit the data of the study to the US Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as soon as possible.
If approved or authorized, Paxlovid, would be the first oral antiviral of its kind, a specifically designed SARS-CoV-2-3CL protease inhibitor, the statement added.

Kerala: 6,580 fresh COVID-19 infections, 46 deaths recorded

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India]: Kerala reported 6,580 new COVID-19 cases and 46 deaths in the last 24 hours.

According to the state government’s data, 62,219 samples were tested during the last 24 hours.
As many as 7,085 fresh recoveries pushed the overall discharges/recoveries to 48,94,435. The death toll mounted to 33,048.

Meanwhile, India reported 12,729 fresh COVID-19 cases and 221 deaths in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Health Ministry.

The country’s active caseload stands at 1,48,922. With 12,165 recoveries in the last 24 hours, the cumulative recoveries reached 3,37,24,959. The total death toll has reached 4,59,873. (ANI)

Travellers vaccinated with Covaxin can now enter US

Washington [US]: Travellers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with Covaxin have been given the green light to enter the US from November 8. Talking to ANI over updating the approved travel list for Covaxin, CDC press officer, Scott Pauley said, “CDC’s travel guidance applies to FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines and encompasses any new vaccines that may be added to either of those lists over time.”
The last-minute addition comes less than one week before the US launches its new travel system, which grants entry to foreign travellers who have received a vaccine that has been approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or WHO.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday acknowledged the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) granting emergency use listing (EUL) to India’s indigenous vaccine Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech.
The WHO said in a tweet that the Technical Advisory Group, convened by World Health Organisation (WHO), has determined that the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19.
“WHO has granted emergency use listing (EUL) to COVAXIN®[?] (developed by Bharat Biotech), adding to a growing portfolio of vaccines validated by WHO for the prevention of #COVID19,” WHO said in a tweet.
The new US travel rules will also accept travellers fully vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
Covaxin, developed by the Indian biotechnology company Bharat Biotech in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research, has a 78 per cent efficacy rate against COVID-19 and is “extremely suitable” for low- and middle-income countries because it is easy to store, according to WHO.

WHO EUL approval opens up Covaxin for worldwide use, says ICMR DG

New Delhi [India]: Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargava on Wednesday said the approval has now opened up the indigenous vaccine for worldwide use.
Speaking to ANI, Bhargava said, “It is a great day for India. It is a classic example of how private-public partnership has been a success in this field. The hard work of scientists and healthcare workers has led to this approval today. This makes India very proud. We should keep up this momentum.” Asked about the significance of getting EUL from WHO, the ICMR DG said, “It means the whole world is open for us for sending this vaccine. And, in India, we have already administered a large number of doses, therefore we will be able to send this vaccine to the rest of the world.”
The WHO on Wednesday granted approval for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin.
Earlier, the UN health body panel had sought additional clarifications from the manufacturer of Covaxin, in order to conduct a final EUL risk-benefit assessment for global use of the vaccine.
The approval was done on the recommendation of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for Emergency Use Listing (TAG-EUL), an independent advisory panel that provides recommendations to WHO on whether a COVID-19 vaccine can be listed for emergency use under the EUL procedure.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and AstraZeneca and Serum Institute’s Covishield are the two widely used vaccines in India.

No COVID-19 vaccination at civic, govt-run centres in Mumbai for 4 days

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday announced that no COVID-19 vaccination will take place at civic and government-run centres in Mumbai between November 4 to 7 owing to Diwali celebrations.
The vaccination will resume on November 8. According to the BMC, it has a sufficient stock of COVID-19 vaccine doses. Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Tuesday recorded 1,078 new COVID-19 cases and 48 deaths. The active cases stand at 15,485.

Covaxin ‘extremely suitable’ for low, middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements: WHO

Geneva [Switzerland]: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Covaxin — COVID-19 vaccine developed by Bharata Biotech — is extremely suitable for low and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements.
The UN health body — which granted approval for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of Covaxin on Wednesday — said that the Bharat Biotech’s vaccine was found to have 78 per cent efficacy against the COVID-19 of any severity, 14 or more days after the second dose.
“Covaxin was found to have 78 per cent efficacy against #COVID19 of any severity, 14 or more days after the second dose, and is extremely suitable for low- and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements,” WHO said in a tweet on Wednesday.
The UN health body’s emergency use listing procedure assess the vaccine under the procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety, efficacy, a risk management plan and suitability in low- and middle-income countries.
The vaccine is formulated from an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 antigen and is presented in single-dose vials and multidose vials of 5, 10 and 20 doses.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Director, has congratulated India on the emergency use listing of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin on Wednesday.
“Congratulations India for Emergency Use Listing of its indigenously produced #COVID19 vaccine COVAXIN,” said Dr Singh in a tweet.
The WHO panel had earlier sought additional clarifications from the manufacturer of Covaxin, in order to conduct a final EUL risk-benefit assessment for global use of the vaccine.
The approval was done on the recommendation of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for Emergency Use Listing (TAG-EUL), an independent advisory panel that provides recommendations to WHO on whether a COVID-19 vaccine can be listed for emergency use under the EUL procedure.

WHO chief scientist congratulates India after WHO approves Covaxin for emergency use listing

Geneva [Switzerland]: WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Wednesday congratulated India after the World Health Organisation (WHO) granted approval for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin.
“One more vaccine gets @WHO emergency use listing. Congratulations India @BharatBiotech@ICMRDELHI @MoHFW_INDIA for successful development of indigenous vaccine #Covaxin as well as for a massive vaccination program,” the WHO Chief Scientist tweeted. The WHO has issued an emergency use listing (EUL) for India’s indigenous vaccine Covaxin, adding to a growing portfolio of vaccines validated by WHO for prevention of COVID-19.
The WHO said in a tweet that the Technical Advisory Group, convened by World Health Organisation (WHO), has determined that the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19.
“WHO has granted emergency use listing (EUL) to COVAXIN® (developed by Bharat Biotech), adding to a growing portfolio of vaccines validated by WHO for the prevention of #COVID19,” WHO said in a tweet.
“The Technical Advisory Group, convened by WHO and made up of regulatory experts from around the world, has determined that the Covaxin vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against #COVID19, that the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs risks and the vaccine can be used,” it added.
The global health body said that the Covaxin vaccine was also reviewed by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), and recommended the use of this vaccine in two doses, with a dose interval of four weeks, in all age groups 18 and above.
Earlier, the WHO panel had sought additional clarifications from the manufacturer of Covaxin, in order to conduct a final EUL risk-benefit assessment for global use of the vaccine.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and AstraZeneca and Serum Institute’s Covishield are two widely used vaccines in India against COVID-19. WHO has so far approved COVID-19 vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-SK Bio/Serum Institute of India, Johnson 7 Johnson – Janssen, Moderna, and Sinopharm for emergency use.

US formally recommends Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11

Washington [US]: Following rigorous review and authorization process by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday (local time) has formally recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11.
“Today, following a rigorous review and authorization process by the FDA, the CDC has formally recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11. This is encouraging news, and a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus,” tweeted US President Joe Biden. “It will allow parents to end months of anxious worrying about their kids, and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others,” read White House statement.
Over the last several weeks, the Biden administration has been working hard to be prepared for this moment.
“We are ready to act. We have already secured enough vaccine supply for every child in America, and over the past weekend, we began the process of packing and shipping out millions of pediatric vaccine doses. These doses — specially designed for these younger children — have started to arrive at thousands of locations across the country,” read the statement.
The program will ramp up over the coming days, and be fully up and running during the week of November 8. Parents will be able to bring their children to thousands of pharmacies, paediatrician’s offices, schools, and other sites to get vaccinated.
“Because of the groundwork we’ve laid, we can be confident that vaccinations for kids will be available, easy, and convenient,” added the statement.
More than 78 per cent of Americans age 12 and older have gotten at least one shot, including millions of teenagers — and the vaccines have proven to be incredibly safe and effective.

Covaxin recognition by Australia important step in post-COVID bilateral partnership, says PM Modi

Glasgow [UK]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday thanked his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison after Canberra recognised Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine.
“I thank my dear friend @ScottMorrisonMP for Australia’s recognition of India’s COVAXIN. It is an important step forward in the post-COVID partnership between India and Australia,” PM Modi tweeted. The Australian government gave recognition to Covaxin vaccine for the purpose of establishing a traveller’s vaccination status in the country.
“Today, the Therapeutic Goods Administration determined that Covaxin (manufactured by BharatBiotech) vaccine would be ‘recognised’ for the purpose of establishing a traveller’s vaccination status,” Australia’s High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell informed in a tweet.
Recognition of Covaxin, along with the previously announced recognition of Covishield (manufactured by AstraZeneca, India), means many citizens of India, as well as other countries where these vaccines have been widely deployed, will now be considered fully vaccinated on entry to Australia, a statement from Australia’s Department of Health informed.
“This will have significant impacts for the return of international students, and travel of skilled and unskilled workers to Australia,” the statement added.
From 1 November 2021, vaccinated Australians and permanent residents aged 12 and over may depart Australia without the need to seek a travel exemption, the Australian Health Department said.
The UN health body — World Health Organisation — has sought additional clarifications from Bharat Biotech, which manufactures Covaxin, and a decision on emergency use authorisation is expected soon.

Kolkata airport mandates in bound passengers to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated, carry RT-PCR negative tests

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]: The Airport Authority of India (AAI), Kolkata on Monday issued guidelines stating that passengers arriving in West Bengal should be either fully vaccinated or carry an RT-PCR negative report for COVID-19, conducted within 72 hours of departure.
The statement came after the West Bengal government asked officials to issue guidelines as the state witnessed a spurt in COVID-19 cases following Dussehra. In a series of tweets, the Kolkata Airport said, “Passengers to kindly note as per guidelines of State Govt, all inbound flight passengers to West Bengal shall have to be either fully (doubly) vaccinated or furnish an RT-PCR negative report for a test conducted within 72hrs of such flight departure.
The instructions are applicable from November 1, said the authority.
In another tweet, the authority said, “Also, as per State Govt directives thrice a week restrictions on flight travels shall be applicable only for cities of Nagpur, Pune & Ahmedabad. Kindly contact the airline concerned for further details. Above instructions are effective from 01.11.2021.”
In the past 24 hours, West Bengal reported 725 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths due to coronavirus. The cumulative number of cases stands at 15.93 lakh as of November 1. The positivity rate stands at 2.49 per cent.

India preparing to produce over 5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for world next year, says PM Modi

Rome [Italy]: India is preparing to produce more than 5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for the world next year to fight against the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the first session of the G-20 Summit in Rome on Saturday.
Speaking at the first session on the global economy and global health, PM Modi said, “India has always been serious about its global obligations. Today, on this G-20 platform, I want to tell you all that India is preparing to produce more than 5 billion vaccine doses for the world next year.” In his address, the Prime Minister spoke about the recognition of Indian COVID-19 vaccine certificates. He said, “This commitment of India will go a long way in preventing the global infection of COVID-19. Therefore, it is necessary that Indian vaccines be recognised by WHO at the earliest.”
PM Modi stressed the ‘One Earth, One Health’ vision of a collaborative approach in dealing with the COVID-19, Prime Minister’s Office said in a press release.
“To fight the corona global pandemic, we have put forward the vision of One Earth – One Health to the world. To deal with any such crisis in future, this vision can become a huge force in the world,” said PM Modi.
PM Modi highlighted India’s contribution in the fight against COVID-19 and said India is playing the role of pharmacy of the world. India has delivered medicines to more than 150 countries. Along with this, India has also put full strength in increasing vaccine research and manufacturing.
He also highlighted that in a short span of time, India has administered over one billion vaccine doses in India.
“By controlling the infection in one-sixth of the world’s population, India has also contributed to making the world safer, and has also reduced the chances of further mutation of the virus,” he said.
PM Modi stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has alerted the world to the need for a reliable supply chain. In this situation, India has emerged as a reliable manufacturing hub.
The Prime Minister also invited G-20 countries to make India a trusted partner in their economic recovery and supply chain diversification.
“I invite the G-20 countries to make India a trusted partner in their economic recovery and supply chain diversification,” he said, adding that “I am happy when leaders like you, during the meetings, appreciate how India has played the role of a Trusted Partner.”
Modi also thanked the G-20’s decision to come up with a 15-per cent minimum corporate tax to make the global financial architecture “more just and fair”.
He said, “The 15 per cent minimum corporate tax rate will prove to be an important step in making the global financial architecture more ‘fair’. I myself suggested this in the G-20 meeting in 2014. I would like to thank the G-20 for making concrete progress in this direction.”

UK to donate 20 million more AstraZeneca vaccine doses to countries in need by end of 2021

London [UK]: The United Kingdom on Saturday announced that it would donate 20 million more Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses by the end of the year to countries in need.
“In 2022, the UK will donate at least 20 million more Oxford-AZ doses,” a statement released by 10 Downing Street said. So far, 10 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were sent to countries in need as part of the COVAX sharing programme and 10 million more will be sent in the next few weeks. The sent vaccine doses are part of a promised 100 million doses plan for emergency vaccination of people living in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.
“These additional donations mean 30.6 million surplus doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca will have been given to those in need in 2021,” the statement added.
The UK will also donate 20 million doses of the Janssen vaccine that it had ordered and not used.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to participate at the G20 Summit in Rome this weekend where he will call on fellow leaders to do everything in their power to help increase vaccine supplies in countries that are in need.
During the 47th G7 Summit at Cardis Bay in Cornwall, England in June, leaders agreed to work together to reach global vaccination by 2022.

India reports 14,313 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours

New Delhi [India]n: A total of 14,313 new Covid-19 cases and 549 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family welfare on Saturday.
Also, 13,543 people recovered from Covid-19 taking the overall recovery count (since the beginning of the pandemic) to 3,36,41,175. “The Active Caseload is presently at 1,61,555. Active cases presently constitute 0.47% of the country’s total Positive Cases, which is lowest since March 2020,” said the medical bulletin.
Meanwhile, India administered 56.71 lakh vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s cumulative vaccination coverage over 105.43 cr, as per the official release.
“The last 24 hours saw a total of 11,76,850 tests being conducted. India has so far conducted over 60.70 Cr (60,70,62,619) cumulative tests,” said the official release.

Italian PM, other EU leaders laud India’s achievements in COVID-19 vaccination

New Delhi [India]: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday said European Union leaders including Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India’s excellent progress on COVID-19 vaccination.
“EU leaders, as well as the Italian PM, congratulated PM Modi for India’s excellent progress on vaccination both in terms of the number of vaccines administered in our country and also in terms of percentage of people covered in the first dose,” Shringla said during the special briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Italy. Highlighting that the EU is one of India’s very important partners, Shringla said that in today’s meetings, the leaders reviewed India-EU cooperation covering political and security relations, trade and investment relations, as well as roadmap 2025 adopted for the India EU summit.
They also discussed developments around climate change, COVID-19 pandemic and contemporary global and regional developments of interest, he said, adding that Prime Minister highlighted India’s perspectives on climate change, Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific.
Shringla mentioned that during the visit, PM Modi paid floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s bust at Piazza Gandhi. This was in the presence of a large number of members of the Indian community who came there to greet the Prime Minister there. And it was all with great enthusiasm.
He further stated that PM Modi also met different cultural groups including members of the Sikh community. The PM paid respect to the Indian soldiers who fought valiantly in Italy during World War II.
Moreover, PM Modi also met his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi at Palazzo Chigi in Rome. This was their first in-person meeting. The Prime Minister has spoken on a number of occasions with Prime Minister Draghi including recently on August 27 when they discussed the issue of Afghanistan, the Foreign Secretary said.
Regarding bilateral cooperation in renewable and clean energy, Shringla said that India and Italy issued a joint statement announcing a strategic partnership on energy transition, and agreed to explore partnerships in areas such as large size green corridor projects, smart grids, energy storage solutions, gas transportation, integrated waste management, deployment of green hydrogen and promotion of biofuels.
He added that India and Italy also signed an agreement of intent on textiles cooperation during the meeting.
Talking about the issue of vaccination certification, he said that “Issue of vaccination certificate was discussed especially with EU representatives. There was a conversation on mutual recognition of vaccines…a doable mechanism to facilitate easier international travel… Details to be worked out bilaterally.”
“Fact of the matter is that the point PM tried to make (on vaccine certification) has been received. Most countries are quite happy with the idea of facilitating smoother international travel…and feel that we need to collectively work on it,” he stated.
“A few EU countries have already responded to our proposal. We have proposed mutual recognition of vaccine certification even at the G20… Discussions are still on…,” Shringla added.

Most people have either been infected with COVID earlier or have taken jabs: Satyendra Jain

Delhi [India]: Claiming that 97 per cent of those under the sixth serological survey in Delhi have developed antibodies against coronavirus, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain on Thursday while specifying the reason for the same said that this is because most of the population in the national capital has already been infected with the virus earlier or have taken the COVID-19 vaccination.
Speaking to ANI, Jain said, “The recent serosurvey shows that 97 per cent of people have developed antibodies. It means most of the people have either been infected with the disease earlier or have taken COVID-19 jabs.” The sixth survey was conducted between September 24 and October 27 and as many as 27,811 samples were tested, of which, 24,895 were seropositive.
According to the survey, antibodies were found in 95 per cent of people who are fully or partially vaccinated, antibodies were present in 82 per cent of unvaccinated citizens.
Sero-prevalence among males was found to be 88.2 per cent and seroprevalence among females is 90.1 per cent which is higher as compared to males.
Participants with a past history of symptomatic COVID-19 infection irrespective of severity had significantly higher odds of seropositivity compared to those without such a history.
The weighted seroprevalence in the districts of the national capital ranged from 84.9 per cent in the South-West district to 90.8 per cent in the East district.
Further speaking about the rising cases of Dengue in Delhi, the health minister said, “There are adequate arrangements of facilities in all the hospitals. If 100 dengue suspected patients are coming to the hospitals for treatment, then only 5-6 people are getting diagnosed in the test. Last year, the number of cases was low because COVID-19 numbers were high.”
“We are not denying treatment to anybody. People coming from other states will also be provided treatment in Delhi hospitals,” he added.
Delhi hospitals are witnessing a surge in Dengue cases as the number of patients from the national capital and nearby areas, especially Uttar Pradesh, continue to go up.
“A lot of younger patients are coming with dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever and a lot of them are unaware of the fact that they have dengue before. Once their IGG levels are being checked it gets revealed,” stated Dr Pooja Khosla, Senior Consultant in Department of medicine Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
“We are also getting lots of cases from outside Delhi, especially Uttar Pradesh,” she added.
As many as 1,006 dengue cases were reported on Tuesday along with 154 cases of malaria and 73 cases of chikungunya in the national capital, as per the data released by South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).

Centre to launch ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination

New Delhi [India]: Centre will soon start a mega COVID-19 vaccination campaign ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ in poor-performing districts aiming to achieve full vaccination by the end of November, said Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday.
“We are going to launch a mega vaccination campaign ‘Har Ghar Dastak’. We have decided that for the next one month, healthcare workers will go door-to-door to vaccinate people eligible for the second dose and also those who have not taken the first dose,” the minister told media persons. Mandaviya on Wednesday chaired a national review meeting with health ministers of states and UTs to discuss the scaling up of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country.
According to the minister, 77 per cent of the eligible population in India has been vaccinated against COVID with the first dose while 32 per cent people have received both doses. “More than 10 crores people have not taken the second dose of vaccine. People who are eligible for the second dose should take the vaccine,” he added.
Highlighting the need to accelerate the pace and coverage of vaccination, he stated that there are more than 10.34 crore people in the country who have not taken the second dose after the prescribed interval.
Speaking to ANI, Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo raised concerns about the number of people who have dropped out of taking the second dose of the COVID vaccine. “A cause of worry is that a huge number of people have dropped out from taking the second dose of COVID vaccine. Wherever there is vaccine hesitancy, we should reach out to people through social, religious, and other organisations,” Deo said.
He added, “Wherever there is a deficiency, there is always scope for trying to do better.” Deo also said that vaccination hesitancy has not been witnessed in Chhattisgarh.
Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh told ANI that 67 per cent of the eligible population in the state have taken the first dose while the second dose has been administered to about 21 per cent of people. “We will fully vaccinate people with the first dose while for the second dose we will try our best with the solutions given by the Union Health Minister,” he added.
Uttarakhand Health Minister Dhan Singh Rawat after the meeting told ANI that people in the state have been fully vaccinated with the first dose while more than 50 per cent have been administered the second dose.
The Union Health Minister also stated that adequate vaccine doses were available in the country, and more than 12 crore balance unutilised doses are available with the States for administering. “No district should be without full vaccination”, he exhorted the States. He further added- “Let us aim to cover all eligible with 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine by end-November 2021.”
During the meeting, the state health ministers were requested to ensure continuous oversight on the progress of the national COVID-19 vaccination programme. Mandaviya urged the State and UTs to make regional and local level plans with all the stakeholders to reduce the number of people with vaccination overdue. He also urged for innovative strategies to encourage them to achieve their targets to review the planning and execution of district-wise plans for coverage of due beneficiaries of the second dose as available on the Co-WIN portal.
Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar was also present during the national review meeting. State Health Ministers Alo Libang (Arunachal Pradesh), Keshab Mahanta (Assam), Mangal Pandey (Bihar), T S Singhdeo (Chhattisgarh), Satyendra Jain (Delhi) Rushikesh Patel (Gujarat), Dr Narrotam Mishra (Home Minister Madhya Pradesh), Dr Mani Kumar Sharma (Sikkim), M A Subramanian (Tamil Nadu), Jai Pratap Singh (Uttar Pradesh), Dhan Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand), Dr Subhash Garg (Rajasthan), Banna Gupta (Jharkhand) participated in the review meeting. State officials along with Mission Directors (NHM) from various states were also present.
Mandaviya highlighted the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi guiding the recently launched PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-BHIM). “COVID has given us the opportunity to analyse the gaps in our existing health infrastructure. We have also learned that in a federal democracy, the Centre and States working in a synchronized collaborative mode can achieve significant milestones”. He informed that with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore, PM-AB HIM, announced in the Budget 2021-22, is the largest pan-India Health Infrastructure Scheme and would provide a much-needed fillip to India’s capacity to address emergent Public Health issues.
This will give a major boost to India’s healthcare infrastructure and make it more resilient, he added. He urged the States to make strategies for timely utilization of the allocated funds under the new Mission. Mandaviya also requested State Health Ministers to ensure that plans and implementation schedules for the ECRP-II are reviewed for timely completion of the proposed initiatives and schemes.
Speaking about India’s philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, Dr. Mandaviya said that India’s pharma sector is fulfilling this philosophy by catering to people with new cost-effective treatments and vaccines. “India supplied essential drugs to the world during first wave of COVID. The world reciprocated and helped India during the second wave”, he stated. Praising the efforts of Indian scientists and researchers, he said that there is no dearth of brain and manpower in India. “India is rightly called ‘pharmacy of the world’ due to its quality drugs. It is a matter of immense pride for India that we have manufactured the COVID vaccine and also administered 100 Cr doses in a short span since 16th Jan 2021”, he stated.
The Union Health Minister further exhorted the State Health Ministers to ensure that the country’s goals for TB elimination, AIDS control and treatment, and other non-COVID schemes are kept in sharp focus.
Dr Mandaviya assured the Health Ministers that the Centre will extend all support and assistance to the States/UTs in matters of health. “In a federal democracy, the Centre and States form a collaborative platform. We should work as a team for ensuring Swastha Bharat, Samruddh Bharat”, he said.
The State Health Ministers heartily thanked the Union Health Minister for this interactive meeting which gave them the opportunity to discuss various issues at a personal level. As desired and assured by Mandaviya, an interactive group with State Health Ministers has been created on WhatsApp to facilitate real-time interaction with the Union Health Minister.

Oman approves Covaxin COVID-19 vaccines for travel without quarantine

Muscat [Oman]: The Government of the Sultanate of Oman on Wednesday added Indian-made Covaxin to the approved list of COVID-19 vaccines for travel to the country without quarantine.
“COVAXIN has now been added to the approved list of COVID-19 vaccines for travel to Oman without quarantine. This will facilitate travellers from India vaccinated with COVAXIN,” tweeted the Embassy of India in Muscat. “All passengers from India who have received two doses of Covaxin at least 14 days before the estimated arrival date will now be able to travel to Oman without the requirement of quarantine. All other COVID-19 related requirements/conditions, such as pre-arrival RT-PCR test shall be applicable for such passengers,” read the press release of the Indian Embassy.
This notification will significantly ease travel to Oman for Indian nationals who have taken Covaxin. Passengers who have taken AstraZeneca/Covishield are already permitted to travel to Oman without quarantine.
Covaxin, India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, is developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for Emergency Use Listing has decided that additional clarifications from the manufacturer are needed to conduct a final EUL risk-benefit assessment for global use of the vaccine.
The UN health body said that the TAG expects to reconvene for the final risk-benefit assessment on November 3.
Bharat Biotech has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and submitted additional information at the UN health body’s request on September 27.
Earlier this month, WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan had said that the UN health body’s technical advisory group will meet on October 26 to consider Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for Covaxin.Last week, WHO had said a vaccine recommended by it for emergency use must be evaluated thoroughly.

Over 103.53 cr COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India so far

New Delhi [India] : With the administration of 55,89,124 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 103.53 crore, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday.
As per provisional reports till 7 am today, 1,03,53,25,577 vaccine doses were administered through 1,02,95,714 sessions. Meanwhile, India reported 13,451 new COVID-19 cases and 585 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative tally to 3,42,15,653.
With this, the country’s active caseload stands at 1,62,661, which is the lowest in 242 days.
The active cases account for less than 1 per cent of total cases and is currently at 0.48 per cent, which is the lowest since March 2020.
The country also reported 14,021 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s recovery rate to 98.19 per cent, which is the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.
India has also ramped up testing capacity and has so far tested 60.32 crore samples for COVID-19.

Approval for Covaxin on basis of WHO meeting today: Mansukh Mandaviya

New Delhi [India] : Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said that approval for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin will be given on the basis of the meeting which will be convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) today.
“WHO has a system in which there is a technical committee which has approved it (Covaxin) while the other committee is meeting today. The approval for Covaxin will be given on the basis of today’s meeting,” said Union Health Minister during a press briefing here. Earlier this month, WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan had said that WHO’s technical advisory group will meet on October 26 to consider emergency use listing (EUL) for Covaxin.
The WHO last week had said a vaccine recommended by it for emergency use must be evaluated thoroughly.
“We are aware that many people are waiting for WHO’s recommendation for Covaxin to be included in the COVID19 Emergency Use Listing, but we cannot cut corners – before recommending a product for emergency use, we must evaluate it thoroughly to make sure it is safe and effective,” the organisation had said.
The WHO had said that the timeframe for the WHO Emergency Use Listing procedure depends on how quickly a company producing the vaccine is able to provide the required data.
“The timeframe for the WHO Emergency Use Listing procedure is dependent on how quickly a company producing the vaccine is able to provide the data required for WHO to evaluate the vaccine’s quality, safety, efficacy and its suitability for low- and middle-income countries,” it said.
Bharat Biotech has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and submitted additional information at WHO’s request on September 27.
Covaxin, India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

US donated 100,000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Nepal

Kathmandu [Nepal]: A total of 100,620 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States of America arrived in Kathmandu on Monday.
Sepideh Keyvanshad, Mission Director for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nepal, handed the shipment of coronavirus vaccines given to Nepal on a grant. The shipment was received by Health Secretary Dr Roshan Pokhrel today. The Health Secretary said that the vaccine aid would help to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. With this donation, the Nepalese government is planning to inoculate people above the age of 12 years and those with chronic health diseases.
The USAID mission director expressed happiness over getting an opportunity to join hands with Nepal in the fight against the pandemic. As well as she committed that the Himalayan Nation also would get additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the day to come.
Nepal Health Ministry Spokesperson Dr Krishna Prasad Poudel said the vaccines will be given to people above 12, and the patients with chronic diseases. “The vaccination will start from 23 hospitals in the country after the Chhath festival,” Poudel said.
Moreover, the Sher Bahadur Deuba government is preparing to bring additional six million doses of Pfizer and four million doses of Moderna vaccines from the US.

US to donate 100,620 more COVID-19 doses to Nepal

Kathmandu [Nepal]: The United States is set to donate 100,620 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal, the Embassy of the United States in Nepal announced on Sunday.
The said amount of coronavirus vaccines will arrive in the capital city Kathmandu on Monday. This adds to the 1.53 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines given by the US to Nepal in July, the embassy said. “Breaking: From the United States to Nepal. The United States is donating 100,620 Pfizer vaccines to the people of Nepal, the arrival is expected tomorrow! This adds to the 1.53 million J&J vaccines given by the U.S. to Nepal in July,” the US embassy tweeted.
This donation comes two days after the top US envoy met Nepal Health Minister Birodh Khatiwada and discussed bilateral issues including cooperation on COVID-19.
“Today, as part of regular diplomatic engagement, Ambassador Berry met with Health Minister Birodh Khatiwada. The two discussed bilateral issues including cooperation on COVID-19,” said the Embassy of the United States in Nepal.
Earlier today, Nepal had reported 522 new COVID-19 cases, taking the nationwide infection tally to 809,056.

Australia launches ‘spread freedom’ COVID-19 vaccination push amid battle against 3rd wave

Canberra [Australia]: The Australian government has launched the next phase of its coronavirus vaccination campaign as the country continues to battle the third wave of COVID-19 infections.
Health Minister Greg Hunt Sunday debuted the government’s new vaccine advertising campaign. Dubbed “spread freedom,” the campaign emphasizes the benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 such as the freedom to travel interstate and overseas, reminding people that with increasing vaccinations they are able to return to a more normal and free life.
As of Saturday, 86.6 per cent of Australians had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 73.1 percent were fully inoculated.
Lieutenant General John Frewen, the COVID-19 Taskforce commander, said Australia was on track to become one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.
“We’ve now got enough vaccines distributed around the country to double dose all Australians who want to get vaccinated,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“If you want to be fully protected before Christmas, then you really need to start coming forward now to that first dose to get the whole process done.”
Australia on Sunday reported 2,240 new locally-acquired COVID-19 infections and 15 deaths. The majority of new cases were in Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, where 1,935 cases and 11 deaths were reported.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded nine new cases on Sunday – its lowest daily tally since late September.

Kerala logs 8,909 new COVID-19 cases, many deaths in last 24 hrs, Cases in Other States also on rise

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India]: Kerala reported 8,909 new COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths in the past 24 hours, said the state health bulletin on Saturday.

As many as 8,780 patients recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours in Kerala.
Further, the active number of cases in the state stands at 80,555.

The new fatalities pushed the cumulative COVID death toll to 28,229.

Meanwhile, India reported 16,326 new COVID-19 cases and 666 deaths in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today.

With this, the total tally of COVID-19 deaths in India now stands at 4,53,708. (ANI)

Will make India self-sufficient: SII

New Delhi [India]: While appreciating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India’s landmark achievement of administering over 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine jabs, Cyrus Poonawalla, chairman of Serum Institute of India (SII) said that they will make India self-sufficient in the COVID-19 vaccine which will be available at the lowest possible price in the world.

Poonawala’s remarks came after attending an interaction of Indian manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine with PM Modi.
He said, “Today, the PM Modi was very happy as our assurance of giving COVID-19 vaccines has been fulfilled. This is only possible because the PM has gone out of his way and made all the people move very fast. The health workers also cooperated and thus we have achieved this milestone. We will make India self-sufficient in the COVID-19 vaccine, with the lowest possible price in the world “

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar were also present during the interaction.

The interaction comes days after the country crossed a milestone of administering 100 crore vaccinations.

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, with the administration of 68,48,417 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has surpassed the 100 Crore mark to reach 101.30 Cr (1,01,30,28,411) as per provisional reports till 7 am today. (ANI)

People should avoid hesitancy, get fully vaccinated, says Dr Trehan

New Delhi [India]: People should avoid hesitancy and get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, urged Medanta Hospitals chairman Dr Naresh Trehan on Friday. Commenting on the country’s 100 crore COVID-19 vaccination milestone, the Medanta chairman said, “It is a huge achievement the country is proud of.”
“I think, there are many things involved in the accomplishment of this feat,” said Dr Trehan.
“Every aspect of the Prime Minister and his persistence should be looked at, like the manufacturer of vaccines, the dedication of the team, government and the functionaries who worked day and night,” he added.
He also appreciated people who were involved in the vaccination process and said that everyone worked unitedly irrespective of them being either government or private associators.
Speaking further Dr Trehan said that COVID-19 vaccination for children is also an important aspect and there is a lot to be done on this.
“We’ve reached an important landmark, but there’s a lot of work to be done including the completion of two doses of vaccine for all. The children below the age of 18, which constitute close to 40 crores are still left to be vaccinated. Therefore we are hoping that vaccination for children starts soon,” he stressed.
He further said, “The country has achieved landmarks and is celebrating them but people should not forget that a third wave is yet to come and they should be careful of the virus.”
He urged people to follow COVID-19 precautions, especially in crowded and closed spaces.
“Precautions must be practised especially when you’re going to a crowded place or any place where there will be a large number of people in the same space,” he said.
While addressing the nation on the country’s milestone of 100 crore vaccination, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it is not just a number but a symbol of the country’s ability and of a “new India”.

WHO urges vaccination for health workers as over 115,000 have died

Washington [US]: The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to prioritize vaccination for health workers in the light of its new paper estimating that 115,000 died from coronavirus between January 2020 and May 2021.
Although data from 119 countries suggests that on average two in five health workers globally are fully vaccinated, there are nonetheless huge differences across regions and economic groups, said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press briefing on Thursday. For example, WHO’s data shows that less than one in ten health workers in Africa has been fully vaccinated, while in most high-income countries more than 80 percent of health workers are fully vaccinated.

According to the International Council of Nurses (ICN), WHO had been informed by governments of less than 7,000 COVID-related healthcare worker deaths during that period.
However, WHO and ICN analyzed this information, and arrived at an estimate of 115,000 deaths among health workers globally – which ICN warns is a conservative estimate.
“The backbone of every health system is its workforce — the people who deliver the services on which we all rely at some point in our lives. The pandemic is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on health workers, and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect our health are themselves unprotected,” said Dr. Tedros.
To protect health workers around the world, WHO and its partners have called on all countries to improve monitoring and reporting of infections and deaths among these workers; to ensure their safe and healthy working conditions, and give them priority for COVID-19 vaccines.
The WHO chief has vowed to push the G20 countries at the upcoming summit in Rome, Italy, to fulfill their vaccine-sharing commitments immediately. This means prioritizing vaccine contracts with COVAX, a WHO-led international COVID-19 vaccine campaign, and partners.
He also urged these countries to share know-how, technology, and licenses, and waive intellectual property rights concerning the vaccines.

Kejriwal lauds healthcare, frontline workers

New Delhi [India] : As India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage surpassed the 100 crore mark on Thursday, Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal lauded the efforts of the healthcare and frontline workers.
Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal said, “Congratulations to all the countrymen on administering 100 crore vaccines. Salute to the doctors, nurses and frontline workers who made this possible. All of us countrymen together faced this disease. Together we will defeat this forever.” India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16, 2021.
Initially, the vaccination was opened for Health Care Workers (HCWs) only.
From February 2, front line workers were made eligible for vaccination. These included State and Central Police personnel, Armed Force Personnel, Home Guards, Civil Defence & Disaster Management Volunteers, Municipal workers, Prison Staff, PRI Staff and Revenue workers involved in containment and surveillance, Railway Protection Force and election Staff.
The vaccination drive was expanded from March 1 to include persons above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with associated specified 20 comorbidities. It was further expanded to all people above 45 years of age from April 1. From May 1, all persons above 18 years of age were made eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister said, “India scripted history” as the vaccination figure surpassed 100 crore mark.

India inoculates over 100 cr COVID-19 vaccine doses

As the country achieved the milestone of vaccinating over 100 crore Indians against COVID-19 on Thursday India’s role as the pharmacy of the world became more entrenched with the nation manufacturing COVID vaccines and many drugs used in the treatment against the virus.

New Delhi [India] : Even after witnessing the havoc created by the two waves of the pandemic, India emerged out of its effects by ramping up the pharma manufacturing sector and maintaining a resilient supply chain of essential drugs. The Centre in an official statement has stated that vaccination drive has been ramped up through the availability of more vaccines, advanced visibility of vaccine availability to states and union territories for enabling better planning by them and streamlining the vaccine supply chain.
During the second wave in the pandemic that hit the country around April this year, the Department of Pharmaceuticals undertook the task of making the essential COVID-related drugs available across the country in active partnership with the manufacturers of these drugs.
According to official information, the monitoring of production and availability of drugs has been carried out as a joint exercise by the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the Department of Pharmaceuticals and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW).
A COVID Drugs Management Cell (CDMC) was formally set up on April 26 this year in the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) to oversee the management of smooth supply of drugs used in COVID-19 management during the pandemic.
Amid the pandemic, production of essential drugs like Remdesivir, Liposomal Amphotericin-B and notably the COVID-19 vaccines were increased.
License to manufacture Remdesivir was granted to seven Indian pharmaceutical companies. The domestic production capacity of all the seven licensed manufacturers was augmented from 38 lakh vials per month in April 2021 to nearly 122 lakh vials per month in June 2021.
For, Liposomal Amphotericin B, a drug used in the treatment of Mucormycosis also known as black fungus, new licenses were granted by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) in favour of 11 new manufacturers during the months of May-June 2021 in addition to the existing five manufacturers of this drug. The domestic production was also increased from 62,000 vials in April 2021 to 3.45 lakh vials in July 2021. Similarly, quantities of imports have substantially increased from 26,165 in April 2021 to 5.09 lakh in July 2021.
It is interesting to look at the nation’s vaccination journey. India commenced its nationwide COVID vaccination drive on January 16, 2021. Starting initially by inoculating vaccines to healthcare workers, it was then expanded to frontline workers, followed by people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with comorbidities. Later it was also expanded to all above 45 years of age and then those above 18 years of age.
To fortify the vaccination drive, pharmaceutical companies like Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India, Zydus Cadila, Biological E, among others were roped in to manufacture a sufficient number of vaccine doses.
When the world was gripped by the clutches of the pandemic, the country looked at setting up manufacturing units of COVID-19 vaccines and expediting the global vaccine delivery. With the establishment of vaccine manufacturing units, countries across the world looked at India for its supply.
Ahead of the sixth edition of the annual program on Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device sector – India Pharma & India Medical Device 2021– held in February this year, former Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers D V Sadananda Gowda had said, “India is a leading exporter of affordable generics and a major hub for medical devices and diagnostics. India has been serving more than 200+ countries and territories with its Pharma products and will continue to discharge its responsibilities.”
He said, “The total market size of the Indian pharma industry is expected to reach USD 130 billion by 2030. The medical devices industry in India has the potential to reach USD 50 bn by 2025.”
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya had said, “During the pandemic, Indian pharma industries supplied the necessary medicines to over 120 countries while fulfilling the country’s own needs. He said that India has launched the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination program and is at the centre of the global effort to provide vaccines to other countries.”
India, having low-cost manpower, pushed its pharmaceutical sector to provide a sufficient supply of vaccines to other countries but at the same time ensured that its own population gets vaccinated.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s standing as ‘the pharmacy of the world’ remained intact.
‘Vaccine Maitri’, an initiative that was started by the Central government to provide COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world, reinforced India’s credentials as a trusted, reliable manufacturer and supplier of quality vaccines.
The government on October 7 permitted the Serum Institute of India (SII) to export 10 lakh Covishield doses each to Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh. It allowed Bharat Biotech to provide 10 lakh doses to Iran.
By exporting vaccines, India remained a critical node in the global health supply chain and established itself as a selfless contributor to global health security.
The country emerged as a net provider of health security and successfully shouldered its responsibility as the pharmacy of the world. Even amidst the pandemic, India continued to export critical life-saving medicines to the countries.
In the recent past, the country’s efforts have been noted by leaders abroad. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in March had appreciated India’s role as the pharmacy of the world.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said that the capacity to produce vaccines of India is one of the “best assets that the world has today”.
Terming India as ‘pharmacy of the world’, the UK in January had lauded the efforts regarding the production of coronavirus vaccine and said, “India already supplies more than 50 per cent of the world’s vaccines, and the UK and India have worked closely together throughout the pandemic.”
In line with its Neighbourhood First policy, India has rolled out Indian-made Covishield vaccines to several countries including Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal to aid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Ten lakh doses of Covaxin have been exported to Iran under Vaccine Maitri. 

Union Health Minister to launch song to celebrate administration of 100 cr COVID-19 vaccine doses

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday will launch a song and an audiovisual film to celebrate the milestone of administering 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses.
As per an official release, Union Minister Mandaviya will launch a song and an audiovisual film at Red Fort in the national capital. As per an official release, 99.12 cr. vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.

Vaccine for Children: Biden administration announces plan to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11

Washington [US] : The Biden administration has revealed plans to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11, a White House statement said on Wednesday.

“Today the Biden Administration is announcing a plan to ensure that, if a vaccine is authorized for children aged 5-11, it is quickly distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country. The start of a vaccination program for children aged 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation,” read the statement.
According to the statement, the Biden Administration announced that it has secured enough shots to vaccinate all 28 million children who would become eligible if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends it.

“The Administration has procured enough vaccine to support vaccination for the country’s 28 million children ages 5-11 years old. If authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5-11 year olds will be a dose and formula specifically for this age group,” read the statement.

The administration is also planning to make the vaccine available at hundreds of schools, clinics and community-based sites, as well as at children’s hospitals.

“The Administration will make vaccination accessible and conveniently located to families across the country, including vaccination clinics at doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, and school- and community-based sites. Nationwide, more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care provider sites will provide vaccinations for children, in addition to tens of thousands of other provider locations that serve children, including pharmacies, children’s hospitals, and community health centers,” the statement said.

The Administration, in partnership with states and localities, will make vaccinations available at doctors’ offices across the country.

The Administration is launching a partnership with the Children’s Hospital Association to work with over 100 children’s hospital systems across the country to set up vaccination sites in November and through the end of the calendar year, said the statement.

The statement further stated that as part of the federal government’s pharmacy program, tens of thousands of pharmacies across the country will offer the vaccine to their local communities.

The Administration will also work with states and local partners to make vaccination sites available at schools and other trusted community-based sites across the country.

“To ensure that parents have the information they need to make informed choices for their families, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will conduct a national public education campaign to reach parents and guardians with accurate and culturally-responsive information about the vaccine and the risks that COVID-19 poses to children,” the statement added. (ANI)

Prathamesh Parab Receives His Second Dose Of Covid-19 Vaccine

Actor Prathamesh Parab has received his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The ‘Timepass’ star took to his Instagram handle to share this news with his fans.

Taking to his Instagram story, Prathamesh shared a picture from the vaccination centre where he is seen receiving her second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

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On the work front, Prathamesh’s much-awaited comedy-drama ‘Darling’ is arriving in theatres on December 10, 2021. Recently, the ‘Timepass’ star took to his Instagram handle to this news with his fans. It also stars Ritika Shrotri and Nikkhhil Chavaan in lead roles.

102 cr vaccine doses provided

New Delhi [India]: Over 102 crore COVID-19 vaccines have been provided to states and union territories so far, said the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday.
As per information shared by the ministry, a total of 1,02,05,09,915 doses have been provided to states and union territories so far through the Central government’s free of cost channel and through the direct state procurement category. The ministry in an official statement said that more than 10.42 crore balance and unutilised COVID vaccine doses are still available with the states and union territories to be administered to the eligible population.
As per the ministry, balance and unutilised COVID vaccine doses amount to 10,42,38,220.
“The Union Government is committed to accelerating the pace and expanding the scope of COVID-19 vaccination throughout the country,” stated the ministry.
“The vaccination drive has been ramped up through availability of more vaccines, advance visibility of vaccine availability to states and union territories for enabling better planning by them, and streamlining the vaccine supply chain,” the ministry added.
In the new phase of the universalisation of the COVID-19 vaccination drive that commenced on June 21, 2021, the Central government will procure and supply (free of cost) 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the vaccine manufacturers in the country to states and union territories.
India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive commenced on January 16, 2021. The cumulative vaccination coverage has exceeded 98.67 crores.
Meanwhile, India reported 13,058 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, which is the lowest in 231 days, as per the ministry.
With this, the active caseload in the country stands at 1,83,118, which is also the lowest in 227 days. The active cases account for less than one per cent of total cases and it is lowest since March 2020 which is currently at 0.54 per cent.

First children-friendly COVID-19 vaccination centre comes up in Delhi

By Shalini Bhardwaj

New Delhi [India]: One of the private imaging centres in Delhi has become the first COVID-19 vaccination centre for children in India. The centre would cater to children above 2 years to 18 years and their vaccination process.
The new children-friendly COVID-19 vaccination centre has been given a catchy look and feel. The centre has been painted with cartoons and animal themes in a way that will help to reduce the injection fear among the children. It also has paintings of popular cartoons like Motu-Patlu, dinosaurs etc on the wall. This kids vaccination centre is getting a lot of praise from the residents and Children are also coming to see the centre.

“If we see demographic distribution then the age group of 0-18 years isn’t less. We can’t leave them unvaccinated, because diseases in children are not severe but still, they are potential carriers,” said Dr Sameer Bhati, Director, Star Imaging and Path Labs.

The purpose behind opening this centre is to engage children post-vaccination when they will be under observation and to remove fear from their minds.

Dr Bhati further said, “The anxiety and fear that parents have for children regarding vaccination, and engaging children post-vaccination is important. We have given it a catchy look in a way that can engage children in other activities after vaccination.”

The guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination for children who come under comorbidities is still pending. It’s expected that these guidelines may come soon after the complete clearance of DCGI to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has already given clearance to Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine ZyCoV-D for those above 12-18 years.

“The comorbid group in children is also at high risk. The obesity group is also at high risk. According to the latest studies, we are waiting for Covid-19 vaccination guidelines for children who come under comorbidities. SEC has recommended Covaxin also,” he added. (ANI)

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