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Cutting Wastage, Sputnik V Launch Critical In Mission Vaccination

India has leaped dramatically from Covid-19 vaccine-reluctance to celebrate the Tika Utsav since the first Covid-19 jab received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 1 and the second one on April 9. From less than 1% of population receiving at least one dose of vaccine on March 1 (1.2 crore), the coverage jumped to 6.3% (8.57 crore) by April 9. Modi taking Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin dispelled all fear and doubts. “The Covaxin has not yet had Phase 3 trials. Approval was premature and could be dangerous,” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had tweeted earlier. Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav announced he would not take the “BJP Vaccine”. On April 12 – the second day of Tika Utsav, and the 87th vaccination day – more than 37.63 lakh citizens (over 45 years) received jabs, making India the fastest nation to administer vaccine doses to 10.8 crore. With the states running mass campaigns – from high-frequency TV ads of Delhi Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal to Sonu Sood being appointed as brand ambassador by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh – the focus has now shifted to preventing vaccine wastage (6.5% nationwide) amid the second wave of pandemic. States like Telangana with wastage of 17.6%, Andhra Pradesh 11.6% and Uttar Pradesh 9.4%, will have to reorganise their efforts to meet the goal of keeping it below 1%. The task is critical as capacities are ramped up with new vaccines like Sputnik V getting regulatory approvals.