IN a welcome development, Pfizer Inc has applied for emergency use authorisation in India after getting the nod for such use in the United Kingdom and Bahrain, The UK is already in the process of using the vaccine and is now in the final stages of planning before the vaccination drive starts on December 14. China is already vaccinating its people with a million people in the country having already received the shot. This despite the fact that China claims to have contained the spread of the virus within its borders and having put its economy back on track. This has been evidenced by the country’s second quarter results.
On the other hand, in an attempt to bolster the confidence of the people in the vaccine, the US president-elect Joe Biden and the three former presidents of the country – Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – have said they are willing to get inoculated against the novel coronavirus on television. Their announcement has come less than a week before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to meet to decide whether to authorise a Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNtech. Similarly, the World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that he too would be happy to have a coronavirus vaccine to help promote public confidence.
Meanwhile, challenges remain. Haryana health minister Anil Vij tested Covid-19 positive fourteen days after taking a shot of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. However, Bharat Biotech has clarified that the shot is meant to be protective only two weeks after the second dose – which is given after a gap of 28 days following the first dose
The arrival of the vaccine is, however, no reason to be complacent about the safety precautions. Over eight months after the union government implemented nationwide lockdown to help curb the contagion, India has recorded 9,608,211 confirmed COVID- 19 cases, including 139,700 deaths. On a welcome note, a total of 9,058,822 people have recovered from the infection leaving only 409,689 active cases in the country. This is a recovery rate of 94.28 percent. Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have reported the highest number of cases. In recent past, infections have spiked in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. Around the world, more than 6.64 crore people have been infected by the coronavirus and 15.27 lakh have died so far.
Going forward, the situation seems to be moving in the positive direction. After initial logistical challenges, the distribution of the vaccine will become progressively easy. This, in turn, will hopefully enable the return of the old normalcy.
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