What is V5 Club and what does India's entry in the club mean?
In its efforts to fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, India rolled out the world's biggest vaccination programme on 16 January 2021. With this, India entered the exclusive V5 Club.
Prime Minister Modi while launching the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination programme in India via video conferencing stated that people must not take off their mask and break social distancing after getting vaccinated with the first dose as the immunity against the virus will develop after the second dose.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi stated, "I want to remind people of the country that two doses of the Corona vaccine are very important. Experts have said that there should be a gap of one month between both vaccinations. The body will develop the necessary strength against the COVID-19, two weeks after the second dose."
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates lauded India's leap into the V5 Club. He stated that more vaccines are made in India than anywhere else in the world, providing a solid base to make India a net provider of global health security.
V5 Club refers to five anti-corona vaccines producing nations-- the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and India.
The Drugs Controller General of India, V.G. Somani announced the approval for two vaccines manufactured in India subject to 'restrictions on use in emergencies'. This paved the way for the government to provide the long-awaited vaccine not only in India but globally.
The two vaccines subject to certain 'regulatory conditions' are:
1- Covishield: Produced by the Pune Serum Institute in collaboration with Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
2- Covaxin: Produced by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad in collaboration with the Indian Medical Research Council and the National Institute of Virology.
Priority Groups to receive COVID-19 vaccine in India
The aim is to vaccinate a quarter of India's population rating priority in the next few months. Over 3 lakh healthcare workers were inoculated on the first day of the COVID-19 vaccination drive. The shots of COVID-19 vaccine will be first given to one crore healthcare workers and around two crore frontline workers, followed by the persons above 50 years of age and then to the people below the age of 50 years with associated comorbidities.
On 22 January 2021, as per a statement released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, till 7 a.m., nearly 10.5 lakh (10,43,534) beneficiaries have received the vaccination under the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
|1.||Andaman & Nicobar Islands||1,032|
|8.||Dadra and Nagar Haveli||184|
|9.||Daman and Diu||94|
|15.||Jammu and Kashmir||6,847|
Who will receive the Indian vaccine first?
The first category to receive vaccine supplies consists of immediate neighbours. India pre-inked MoUs with Bangladesh and Myanmar. Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar assured Sri Lanka's vaccine demands positively. Nepal requested the same during the Foreign Minister's visit. Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan are also guaranteed positive responses.
The second category to receive the vaccine supplies consists of friendly nations such as West Asia, Central Asia, and the states in the Indian Ocean Region. As per the official sources, the immediate requests from these two countries may be for 30 million doses. The Indian companies will reach or exceed the production of 300 million doses in the next six months.
The third category to receive the vaccine supplies covers the rest of the world in terms of the urgency of need and the nature of the relationship with India. The will be provided to countries in Africa and Latin America. Upon the request from the President of Brazil, the supply of vaccines is likely to be arranged soon.
What does India's emergence as a vax power mean?
India's emergence as a major vaccine or vax power has several striking features. These are as follows:
1- The countries that routinely accept Chinese goods, technology and funding have clearly stated that they will prefer Indian vaccines over Chinese ones because Indian pharmaceutical know-how is considered far more reliable than China.
2- India's role at the World Health Organization (WHO) and endeavours to strengthen the COVAX initiative is significant. This ensures rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to all the countries. The funds which are available under the COVAX can be utilized to export the Indian vaccines to the needy regions.
3- In addition to the above, it also provides India with the opportunity to enter into the global production and supply chains related to the pharmaceutical sector. This is due to the solid achievements of Indian pharma companies over the years to offer life-saving products like the AIDS cocktail, and generic products that are readily accepted in diverse markets.
It is to be noted that India is the world's largest exporter of generics and accounts for 40% of the US generics market.
What is Co-WIN App?
The vaccination drive in India will use the digital platform-- Co-WIN-- developed by the Indian Health Ministry. It will facilitate the real-time information on vaccine stocks, storage temperature and tracking of beneficiaries for COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to this, a dedicated 24*7 call centre (1075) has also been established for addressing the queries related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine rollout and CO-WIN software.