The Union health ministry said on Thursday that pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila’s Covid-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D, will be initially introduced in seven states – Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. However, the ministry did not specify the date.
In a statement, the ministry said these states have been advised to identify districts that have a high number of people who are still unvaccinated.
“National training for ZyCoV-D has been completed,” the statement said. “Selected states should plan sessions based on pharmajet injector and identify vaccinators to be trained for using it for vaccination.”
The pharmajet injector is used to deliver shots without using a needle. It is being used as Zydus Cadila’s vaccine is needle-free.
ZyCov-D is the world’s first DNA vaccine against the coronavirus disease and is given in three doses. It makes use of a portion of the genetic code – deoxyribonucleic acid or ribonucleic acid – in the SARS-CoV-2 virus to stimulate an immune response against its spike protein, according to the Ahmedabad-headquartered company.
The health ministry’s statement came after Union health secretary conducted a review of the Centre’s “Har Ghar Dastak” programme. It was launched on November 3 and is aimed at mobilising and vaccinating all eligible population who are either unvaccinated or have not received their second dose by visiting their houses across the country, according to the health ministry.
“The ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign has resulted in a hike of 5.9% in the 1st dose coverage [till November 30], and an appreciable jump of 11.7% in 2nd dose Covid-19 vaccination coverage during the campaign,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said during his meeting with officials of states and Union Territories.
Bhushan advised the states to devise plans to ensure coverage of all beneficiaries due for the second dose by increasing the pace of vaccination. He also asked the states to ensure that available vaccine in the state is consumed timely and doses do not expire.
So far, India has administered 1,25,75,92,793 Covid-19 vaccine shots, according to the data on CoWIN portal. As many as 46,24,73,947 beneficiaries have received both the shots.
ZyCov-D was approved by the Drug Controller General of India on August 20 for emergency use in adults and children aged 12 years and above.
In November, Zydus Cadila said that the Indian government has ordered one crore doses of the vaccine. In a filing to the stock exchanges, the pharmaceutical company had said that it has set a price of Rs 265 per dose.