At Least 18 Covid Vaccine Candidates in Pipeline; No New Cases in 188 Districts in a Week: Health Minister

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About 18-19 vaccine candidates against COVID-19 are in the pipeline and in different clinical trial stages, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday. Addressing the media, Vardhan said that in the next 2-3 weeks, vaccinations against COVID-19 will be started for people above 50 years of age.

"About 18-20 vaccine candidates against COVID-19 are in the pipeline and are in preclinical, clinical and advanced stages," Vardhan said. He further said that India will be supplying vaccines to 20-25 other countries.

Dispelling rumours surrounding the vaccines, Vardhan said the vaccines in the public domain are safe and effective. He said no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 188 districts of the country in the last 7 days, while no new cases have been reported in 21 districts in 21 days.

Vardhan further urged people to keep following COVID appropriate behaviour. "It is crucial that people continue to follow COVID appropriate behaviour which I call social vaccine, along with real vaccines," he said. India has approved two vaccines -- Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and Covishield from the Oxford/AstraZeneca stable being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India -- for emergency use in the country.

Till 8 AM on February 15, the cumulative number of healthcare workers (HCW) and frontline workers (FLW) vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country has reached nearly 83 lakh.

A total 82,85,295 beneficiaries have been vaccinated through 1,73,729 sessions, as per the provisional report till 8 am. These include 59,88,113 HCWs (1st dose), 24,561 HCWs (2nd dose) and 22,72,621 FLWs (1stdose).

The 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccination started on February 13 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the 1st dose. As on Day 30 of the vaccination drive (14th February, 2021), a total of21,437 beneficiaries received vaccination across 877 sessions. Out of which, 20,504 beneficiaries were vaccinated for 1st dose and 933 HCWs received 2nddose of vaccine, the ministry said.

The country is witnessing a progressive increase in the vaccination day by day, it stressed. Ten states account for 69 per cent of the total beneficiaries vaccinated in India. Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for 10.4 per cent (8,58,602) beneficiaries.

India's cumulative recoveries have surged to 1,06,21,220 with9,489patients having recuperated in a span of 24 hours. The ministry said 79.5 per cent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in six states.

Kerala has reported the maximum number of single-day recoveries with 4,692 newly recovered cases (nearly 50 per cent). As many as 1,355 people recovered in Maharashtra in the past 24 hours followed by 486 in Karnataka. Ninety fatalities have been recorded in a span of 24 hours.

Six states account for80 per cent of the daily deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (40), accounting for nearly 44.44 per cent of the daily deaths. Kerala follows with 15 daily deaths and Tamil Nadu reported six casualties. A total of 1,649new daily cases have been recorded in a day.

The ministry 86.4 per cent of the daily new cases are from six states. Kerala reports the highest daily new cases at 4,612. It is followed by Maharashtra with 4,092, while Tamil Nadu reported 470 new cases.