How India’s vaccine milestone hides a divide

How India’s vaccine milestone hides a divide

2021-10-19 11:05:00 AM

How India’s vaccine milestone hides a divide

Billion-doses mark is lopsided with only 21% of population having had just one shot

Agency StaffPeople wait in a queue to receive a dose of COVISHIELD vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, outside a vaccination centre in Siliguri, in the eastern state of West Bengal, India, October 7 2021. Picture: REUTERS/RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI

COVID-19 in SA | Ramaphosa urges South Africans to vaccinate Buthelezi tests positive for COVID-19 again Ramaphosa concerned about gatherings, warns against spread of COVID-19

India will soon have administered 1-billion Covid-19 vaccine doses, but the milestone masks a yawning gap between the number of people who have been fully inoculated and those that have had just one shot. While it is likely to hit the billion-doses mark this week, the country has only given two shots to nearly 21% of its population of about 1.4-billion, according Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. By comparison, 51% have had a single dose, making it one of the highest disparities in the world, the tracker shows.

Neighbouring China, the only nation to dish out more vaccine doses than India, has fully inoculated some 1.05-billion, or 75% of its citizens, up to late September.Health experts pin the lopsided statistic on a mix of factors. Home to the world’s most devastating Covid-19 outbreak earlier this year, India has seen cases ebb the past few months, dimming the urgency to get vaccinated. The country had administered almost 987-million doses by Tuesday. headtopics.com

In rural areas, government welfare is tied to having just one shot, with some having to travel long distances to return for the second dose. The large number of children yet to be covered by the vaccine programme also contributes, as does the comparatively long three-month gap health authorities advise between two doses of AstraZeneca’s shot, the predominant vaccine deployed in India.

“Adherence was noted to be an issue in all two-dose clinical trials run in India,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “So the widening gap is due to both the spacing between two doses and non-adherence.”

The disparity is of concern because while infections have come off the highs reached in early May, India is still seeing more than 13,000 new cases every day and hundreds of deaths.  Waning urgency“When cases are as low as they are right now, the level of enthusiasm and the level of urgency to be vaccinated may wane,” said Brian Wahl, a New Delhi-based epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which has worked on a campaign to boost vaccine confidence with a medical college in the north Indian city of Chandigarh.

Hesitancy is potentially acute in India’s countryside, where about two-thirds of the population lives with limited access to poorly-funded health facilities. Many state governments have made the first-shot vaccination certificate a de facto requirement for accessing welfare programmes, including a food ration system that many poor and rural-dwelling families depend on. There are no equivalent requirements attached to receiving the second dose.  headtopics.com

SA firm aims high in budding cannabis industry with R300m investment from a US company | Fin24 Eskom wins tariff battle against Nersa 'I feel like I have something to offer' - Duduzane Zuma on running for president

Government officials have been following up with people about their second shot, but it can be difficult to make them return as well as to convince those who are hesitant, said Wahl. “The further progress you make, the more challenging it is to get higher and higher levels of coverage.”

Nevertheless, Wahl expects the gap to narrow in coming weeks. A slew of Indians are slated to get their second AstraZeneca shot after a long wait to get their first in the summer, when the vaccine’s local manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India, began to gear up its production.

Children’s shotsAlso skewing the statistics is that India is yet to deploy any vaccines for those under 18, some 40% of India’s population. That may change soon. One locally developed inoculation has been approved for over 12s, but has not started to be administered yet. The country’s drug regulator is also reviewing another shot for those as young as two.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is aiming to fully vaccinate India’s adult population by year-end. Until then, health authorities hope the vaccines already deployed, as well as natural immunity built up by an estimated two-thirds of the population, will hold the line.  headtopics.com

But risks remain. “In pockets where we are not seeing the same high level of immunisation, there’s a threat you could see smaller outbreaks,” Wahl said. “Immunity does wane over time. Continuing to keep up with the immunisation campaign is important.” 

Read more: Business Day »

LIVESTREAM: Police Minister testifies at SAHRC hearings

The Human Rights Commission hearings into the July unrest continues on Friday.

𝐈 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐈 𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐭𝐫ial with Renee_tasker 𝐚𝐧𝐝 ever since then I have not had any issues of scam all thanks to Renee_tasker 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐝𝐫𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐥.

COVID-19 Vaccine | J&J vaccine booster shot on the cardsThere are plans to give additional COVID-19 vaccines to individuals with compromised immunity. I won't be sharing the good news of how I got paid Renee_tasker because I thought it was all fake but I got paid and now today am financial free all thank to you Renee_tasker 🚩🚩🚩

Conversations related to Covid-19 on social media driven by conspiracy theories and vaccine hesitancyFringe conspiracy theorists still continue to drive a significant amount of anti-vaccination rhetoric, followed by posts on vaccine hesitancy and vaccine scepticism. What is a conspiracy theory? Is it anything not reported by mainstream media? It’s not hesitancy, it’s straight out REFUSAL. Stop undermining our intelligence. ANC puppet government sold people of this country to be lab rats. They are conspiring with technocrats to build a new digital slave system that is going to tamper with our biology. All patients I have seen sleep alone on the bed when others are not there,who were initialy there, incl smokers,unvaccinated etc

Sahpra did not approve the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine - the regulator highlighted a major concern | Health24The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority will not approve Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine for use in South Africa until the developer can confirm that it doesn’t make people more vulnerable to HIV infection. | Health24com

SA puts brakes on Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine over HIV fearsStudies show uncircumcised men were at risk of getting HIV if they took the vaccine. Sentletse please explain 🤔

Children over 12 years can get the Covid-19 vaccine without a parent’s consent — Here’s whyHealth minister Joe Phaahla said the side-effect of heart inflammation in young boys will be closely monitored. What 😳😳Without who Nisile rhaaa Informed consent is given by someone who has been adequately informed about the disease, the vaccine mode of action, severe and minor side effects. Advantages and disadvantages of vaccine. The ongoing researches of vaccines and disease. Don't gamble with the lives of children People who give up are the people who lose in life, my first experience happens to be a failure but i never gave up cause I knew it was going to work out for me trying continuously, fortunately I'm smiling ☺ today getting involved with lethica10

EFF not surprised at regulatory authority’s rejection of Sputnik V vaccine for emergency useEFF says profits matter more than saving lives. Yep it seems SAHPRA is in the pocket of Big Pharma in the west. The Russian vaccine was found to be ok in an article in the Lancet but not good enough for SA. What is Pfizer and JnJ paying the folks who make these decisions But they demanded that this regulator pass Sputnik V.. can we just not make an exception here for the EFFSouthAfrica 🙏 This vaccine is scaring us. I am no longer advocating for its usage.