India Coronavirus Dispatch: What is govt's plan for vaccine side effects?.

Supply-chain ideas that can cut vaccine waste, a virologist's views on vaccine hesitancy, how the pandemic unfolded in the country-news relevant to India's fight against Covid-19

What if you develop side effects after immunisation? The Government has a plan


It is completely normal for people to develop side effects after immunisation. In medical jargon, these side effects are called adverse events. These can be 'minor', 'severe', or 'serious', with only the last category requiring hospitalisation. In fact, vaccination drives that are underway the UK and the US have also reported adverse events, especially in people with allergies, says the writer of this article. None were 'serious'.

The top three vaccines that are currently awaiting the government's approval in India are Pfizer and BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. So far, the adverse events have been 'minor' or 'severe', and the proportion of such cases has been small.

So, what is the government's plan to tackle side effects? Vaccinators are actively being trained to detect and manage adverse events. Every vaccination site will be linked to a designated adverse event management centre. The states have been asked to identify at least one such centre in each block. These adverse events will also be registered on the Co-WIN app and website, the government's new app to manage the vaccine roll-out. There are a few more measures the government is taking to tackle side effects.

How the pandemic unfolded in the country

From the first case in India reported back in January to the caseload breaching the 10 million mark, the writer of this article summarises how the pandemic unfolded in the country so far. The writer takes you through the origins of the virus in China, the lockdowns that brought economies around the world to a standstill, and the development of the vaccines at a historic pace. The writer also walks you through the grim consequences of the pandemic such as the death toll, the migrant crisis, and more. Read more here

Are Covid-19 vaccines safe and efficient? A virologist answers burning questions

Covishield being developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and manufactured by India's Serum Institute, Covaxin being developed by Bharat Biotech, and the vaccine candidate developed by Pfizer and BioNTech are in line to receive emergency approval for Covid-19 vaccination in India. But, several large-scale surveys have indicated significant vaccine hesitancy in the general public, including among health professionals.

Dr Shahid Jameel, a virologist and the director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University, answers burning questions around vaccine hesitancy, including around safety, efficacy, adverse events, and the rapid speed with which vaccine development has taken place.

What supply-chain ideas of Amazon, Walmart can help cut Covid-19 vaccine waste

Complicated storage requirements and variability in demand are two key challenges of vaccine distribution that may lead to a substantial proportion of perishable vaccines going to waste, say Tinglong Dai a professor of operations management at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Christopher S Tang, a distinguished professor at the University of California.

Fulfilment centres can solve the variable demand problem, the writers say. Instead of shipping the shots straight to hospitals or pharmacies, regional fulfilment centres in different districts with pooled inventory could be set up, a method practised by Amazon.

An approach called 'cross-docking', popularised by Walmart, can solve the storage requirement problem the writers say. Instead of receiving the vaccines from incoming trucks, storing them in intermediate warehouses, and then moving them from warehouses to outgoing trucks, cross-docking skips the storage step. You can move the vaccines straight from the trucks that came from airports or vaccine makers straight to the outgoing trucks that are headed to fulfilment centres.

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