A slow pace of vaccination, shortage of doses for the 18 to 44 age group and chances of undercounting infection, India's response against the pandemic is turning out to be a battle on multiple fronts.
Union minister Prakash Javadkar has claimed that India will vaccinate all by December 2021. This means that the vaccination rate needs to be ramped up to 70 lakh doses per day. The current strike rate stands at 20 lakh doses a day. The minister's response came after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi predicted "multiple waves" in the country if vaccinations continued at the current pace.
Secondly, the issue of whether vaccine cocktails are a better defence against the virus continues to take centre stage.
Doctor VK Paul, chair of the National Expert Group on vaccine administration for COVID-19, has said though it can't be said definitively that it can be practised, there is no cause for concern in case different doses have been administered, his comments came on the back of reports that 20 people in a government hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Siddharth Nagar had been administered Covishiled as the first dose and Covaxin as the second.
There has also been a raging debate over whether pregnant women in India should be allowed to get vaccinated amid a spike in COVID cases in the country. So far, the government has allowed vaccination only among lactating mothers. Several gynaecologists have made a strong case for vaccinating pregnant women on an urgent basis.
To discuss this, Shereen Bhan spoke to Dr. Samiran Panda, Head of Epidemiology at ICMR and Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder of ARMMAN.
Watch video for more.