After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and 11 months after the beginning of a nationwide vaccination drive, India seems to be slowly but surely gaining some semblance of normalcy again. While the new year calls for new hope and celebration, we must continue to be vigilant in our fight against the virus and its newly emerging variants. Proper masking, hand washing and sanitising must be our priority—along with staying up to date with our vaccinations. Thanks to a systematic and scientific procedure and the relentless hard work of healthcare workers, caregivers and scientists, the future looks promising. Here are the highlights of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's latest address to the nation.
Future vaccinations in 2022—what we know so far
- Thanks to healthcare workers and scientific research, India will soon roll out nasal vaccines and the world's first-ever DNA vaccine.
- Vaccinations for children between 15 and 18 years will begin from 3 January 2022.
- Booster or precaution doses will begin from 10 January 2022 for healthcare and frontline workers.
- Booster shots will be available from 10 January 2022 for people who are 60+ years and immunocompromised, as per their doctor's advice.
Latest updates on the Omicron variant
- Originating in South Africa, the Omicron variant has racked up nearly 600 cases in India so far. Delhi records the highest cases, thereby prompting a night curfew.
- Since research on the variant is still in its early stages, cases recorded so far have shown cough, fatigue, congestion, runny nose and other flu-like symptoms. Chances of smell or taste loss seem to be lower.
- Vaccinated individuals have recorded milder infections than those who are unvaccinated.
Top milestones of the Indian vaccination drive in 2021
- We have 18 lakh isolation beds, 5 lakh oxygen-supported beds, 1 lakh and 40 thousand ICU beds and 90 thousand ICU and non-ICU beds (for children)
- We have 3 thousand working Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plants to generate medical-grade oxygen.
- 4 lakh oxygen cylinders have been distributed.
- 141 crore doses of vaccines have been given so far. 61 percent of the eligible population has received 2 doses, while 90 percent of the elderly population have received at least one dose.
- Tourism states like Goa, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have completed 100 percent of a single dose of vaccines.