Despite rules requiring people to share their results with authorities, many aren't doing so. This means the country’s already patchy testing data is even less accurate and that future clusters may go undetected.
A serious problem has arisen with the supply of the COVID-19 vaccines to the poor countries, especially in Africa because of the short shelf-life of the vaccines, ranging from AstraZeneca’s six months to Johnson & Johnson’s two
Fixing the target for fully and partially vaccinated people till the end of March, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to approach Covax to start vaccination of children aged five to 11 years (numbering 43.7 million) against COVID-19.
The new training hub comes after the UN agency set up a technology transfer hub in Cape Town, South Africa, last year to give companies from poor and middle-income countries the know-how to produce COVID-19 vaccines based on mRNA technology.
"This is a red alert for child health," said Catherine Russell, UNICEF's Executive Director. "We are witnessing the largest sustained drop in childhood immunisation in a generation,” she said.
"COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance," Health Minister Mansukh said on Twitter. "We are prepared to manage any situation."
India wants to start administering the vaccine soon, most likely by Wednesday, said one of the sources, both of whom declined to be named ahead of an official announcement expected later in the day.
The government also approved the use of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which will be the lead vaccine in India's immunisation programme until other shots are approved.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen hailed the campaign start as a "touching moment of unity and a European success story," adding the process will "help to get our normal lives back gradually."