The beginning of the end of the pandemic: India and COVID-19

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The historic moment that everyone has been waiting for has arrived. The world’s largest vaccination drive is underway. We can believe that this, in fact, is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. The pandemic that had taken over our lives from the past year will finally end soon. The two Indian vaccines that the DCGI had cleared  – Covishield and Covaxin – have proven to be safe and effective in generating immunological responses under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) guidelines. During a video-conference with the health ministers of states and union territories in the evening, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, “Today is perhaps the day of tremendous relief for all of us in the past one year.”

The Union Health Ministry said 1,91,181 beneficiaries got vaccinated against COVID-19 across 3,351 session sites in India thus far.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the pan-India vaccination drive at 10:30 am via video conferencing. It came days after the country’s top drug regulator, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), gave emergency use authorisation to the two vaccine candidates.

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Dr. A.S. Soin shared his experience with the Covid vaccine as he talked to FIT (The Quint) :

“I had my first shot about three hours ago. It was smooth and painless and I am absolutely fine now, I’m continuing to do my work as usual. I’ve seen several patients since getting the shot, and I’ll soon be stepping into the operating room to do my surgeries for the day. Now after getting the vaccine, healthcare workers will be at a reduced or no risk of COVID while we go about our jobs of saving lives. This will also hopefully motivate the rest of the public and instill enough confidence in them to get vaccinated without fear.”

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Nonetheless, there is a flip side to this wonderful news.

Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, may lead to injection site pain, headache, fatigue, fever and body ache. Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness-giddiness, tremor, sweating, cold, cough and injection site swelling are other outcomes.

During the vaccination drive, Maharashtra recorded 14 cases of adverse events. Luckily, none of them were fatal. On Saturday, around 52 healthcare workers from the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine suffered side-effects.  51 of them showed minor reactions. However, one recipient suffered a severe case of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI). They are currently under observation of state officials.

Paracetamol proves effective to provide symptomatic relief from post-vaccination adverse reactions, the ministry has specified.

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