Govt asks Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech to ramp up supply of Covishield and Covaxin

The government has asked vaccine makers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to ramp up supply of Covishield and Covaxin, respectively.

Serum Institute has until now supplied about 4.6 crore doses of its vaccine and is scheduled to supply another 1 crore doses. While Bharat Biotech supplied 55 lakh doses of Covaxin and is expected to supply another 45 lakh doses within a week.

CNBC-TV18’s Timsy Jaipuria shares more details.

From eligibility, registration to price; here’s all you need to know about COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 cases spiked in the country over the past few weeks after witnessing a decline, raising concerns among authorities who have commenced phase two of the vaccination drive across the country. Recipients of the first dose among civilians after frontline and healthcare workers included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who received his first dose at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.

The latest programme is aimed at people above the age of 60 years and those aged 45 and above with comorbidities. While people above 60 years need to furnish just their age proof to get inoculated, those between 45 and 59 years of age will have to provide medical documents as proof of comorbidities.

The government expects that during the second stage of the vaccination programme, it will be able to reach around 27 crore people who are on the priority list after healthcare and frontline workers.

People can register for the programme via the Co-WIN2.0 portal and avail the vaccination dose from around 10,000 hospitals empanelled under Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY and 687 hospitals under CGHS that can be used by states as vaccination centres (CVCs).

Every eligible individual needs to get two shots of the vaccine available at hospitals to complete the process. At government hospitals, the vaccination is being done for free, while private facilities will charge a maximum of Rs 250 per dose that includes Rs 150 for vaccines and Rs 100 as service charges.

COVID-19: List of comorbidities that make people above 45 eligible for vaccine shot

As COVID-19 cases surge in in the country after witnessing a decline in numbers for weeks, authorities have commenced the second phase of the vaccination drive in the country on March 1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and a host of other politicians were administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In the second phase, people above 60 years and those aged 45 and above with certain comorbidities are eligible for vaccination. The government expects to reach around 27 crore people who are on the priority list after healthcare and frontline workers.

Eligible people can register for vaccination through the Co-WIN2.0 portal and avail doses from around 10,000 hospitals empanelled under the Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY and 687 hospitals under CGHS that can be used by states as vaccination centres (CVCs). Here’s a list of the comorbidities that make you eligible for COVID-19 vaccination under the second phase.

Those with any of these 20 comorbidities will be prioritized for vaccination in phase 2:

  1. Heart failure with hospital admission in past one year.
  2. Left ventricular assist device in end-stage heart disease.
  3. Left ventricular systolic dysfunction.
  4. Moderate or severe valvular heart disease.
  5. Congenital heart disease with severe pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  6. Coronary artery disease with hypertension or diabetes.
  7. Undergoing treatment for angina (chest pain) with hypertension or diabetes.
  8. Documented stroke case with hypertension or diabetes (on treatment).
  9. Pulmonary artery hypertension and hypertension or diabetes (on treatment).
  10. Diabetes less than 10 years or with complications and hypertension (on treatment).
  11. Those who have undergone heart, kidney, liver or haematopoietic stem cell transplant.
  12. End-stage kidney disease on dialysis.
  13. Those on prolonged use of oral corticosteroids or immunosuppressant medications.
  14. Those with decompensated cirrhosis.
  15. Any respiratory disease including hospitalisation in the past two years.
  16. Lymphoma, leukaemia or myeloma.
  17. Those diagnosed with cancer on or after July 1, 2020, or currently undergoing cancer therapy.
  18. Sickle Cell Disease, bone marrow failure, aplastic anaemia or thalassemia major.
  19. HIV infection, or primary immunodeficiency diseases.
  20. Those with multiple disabilities such as blindness, deafness, acid attack with the involvement of respiratory tract, muscular dystrophy, intellectual disabilities, disabled requiring high support needs.

October 2020 Mumbai blackout: Did Galwan skirmish spill over to India’s business hub?

Remember the blackout in Mumbai last year on October 12, when local trains, the city’s lifeline, stopped on their tracks, hospitals grappling with the high COVID-19 caseload had to switch on their emergency generators, and people at homes were left battling high levels of humidity? A report now suggests that Chinese malware could be behind the blackout.

The new study has linked the blackout to the India-China border skirmish earlier that summer in the remote Galwan Valley, where at least two dozen soldiers from both sides succumbed to injuries, reports The New York Times. The study states that the power outage was part of a broad Chinese cyber campaign against India, sending the message that “if India pressed its claims too hard, the lights could go out across the country”.

The study shows that as the standoff continued in the Himalayas, Chinese malware was flowing into the electric supply control systems across India, along with a high-voltage transmission substation and coal-fired power plant, writes NYT. The flow of the malware was pieced together by Recorded Future, a Somerville-based company. The company, however, could not examine details of the code, which was placed in strategic power-distribution systems across India.

China, has, however, denied the story strongly. The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson has released a statement which reads, “As staunch defender of cyber security, China firmly opposes&cracks down on all forms of cyber attacks. Speculation & fabrication have no role to play on the issue of cyber attacks. Highly irresponsible to accuse a particular party with no sufficient evidence around.”

Following the October 13 power outage, officials had then said that the cause was a Chinese-origin cyberattack on a nearby load-management centre. So, authorities began formal investigations and a report is due this month.

The discovery is the latest example of how the placement of malware in an enemy’s infrastructure has become the newest form of deterrence and aggression. Police say Chinese hackers had unleashed around 40,300 hacking attempts on India’s technology and banking infrastructure in just five days when tensions rose between the two countries at the Line of Actual Control last year.

In the wake of this, military experts have renewed calls for replacing Chinese-made hardware in the power sector and railways.

Chinese hackers target Indian vaccine makers SII, Bharat Biotech, says security firm

A Chinese state-backed hacking group has in recent weeks targeted the IT systems of two Indian vaccine makers whose coronavirus shots are being used in the country’s immunisation campaign, cyber intelligence firm Cyfirma told Reuters.

China and India have both sold or gifted COVID-19 shots to many countries. India produces more than 60 percent of all vaccines sold in the world.

Goldman Sachs-backed Cyfirma, based in Singapore and Tokyo, said Chinese hacking group APT10, also known as Stone Panda, had identified gaps and vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure and supply chain software of Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker.

“The real motivation here is actually exfiltrating intellectual property and getting a competitive advantage over Indian pharmaceutical companies,” said Cyfirma Chief Executive Kumar Ritesh, formerly a top cyber official with British foreign intelligence agency MI6.

He said APT10 was actively targeting SII, which is making the AstraZeneca vaccine for many countries and will soon start bulk-manufacturing Novavax shots.

“In the case of Serum Institute, they have found a number of their public servers running weak web servers, these are vulnerable web servers,” Ritesh said, referring to the hackers.

“They have spoken about the weak web application, they are also talking about the weak content-management system. It’s quite alarming.”

China’s foreign ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

SII and Bharat Biotech declined to comment. The government-run Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, with whom Cyfirma said it had shared its findings, had no immediate comment.

The US Department of Justice said in 2018 that APT10 had acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

Microsoft had said in November that it had detected cyber-attacks from Russia and North Korea targeting COVID-19 vaccine companies in India, Canada, France, South Korea and the United States. North Korean hackers also tried to break into the systems of British drugmaker AstraZeneca, Reuters has reported.

Ritesh, whose firm follows the activities of some 750 cybercriminals and monitors nearly 2,000 hacking campaigns using a tool called decipher, said it was not yet clear what vaccine-related information APT10 may have accessed from the Indian companies.

Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN shot, developed with the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research, will be exported to many countries, including Brazil.

US drugmaker Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE said in December that documents related to the development of their COVID-19 vaccine had been “unlawfully accessed” in a cyberattack on Europe’s medicines regulator.

Relations between nuclear-armed neighbours China and India soured last June when 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed in a Himalayan border fight. Recent talks have eased the tension.

Phase 2 COVID vaccination drive begins; here’s a ground report from various facilities

2nd study testing a COVID-19 antibody drug has a setback

The phase 2 of the vaccination progarmme has begun from March 1. Registrations via CoWin 2.0 portal started at 9 am today.

Citizens aged above 60 and 45-plus with comorbidities will be eligible to receive the jabs under this round of immunisation.

Registration will be open from 9:00 am till 3:00 pm, and the appointments can be booked any time subject to availability.

However, on day 1 itself, some hospitals are facing technical glitches in registering on CoWin 2.0 app as the app’s server has been impacted.

From Bengaluru to Mumbai, CNBC-TV18 gets a ground report on the vaccination process from across the country.

Watch video for more.

COVID-19 vaccination Phase 2 begins today: From eligibility to price, all questions answered

The COVID-19 vaccination drive for people above the age of 60 years and those aged 45 and above with comorbidities started on Monday in the second phase of inoculation. The registration for the same can be done on the Co-WIN2.0 portal.

Who are eligible?

All those who turn 60 before or on January 1, 2022, will be eligible. Those above 60 years just need to furnish age proof. Those between 45 and 59 years, will also have to provide medical documents as proof of co-morbidities, apart from their age proof. 

Which comorbidities make you eligible for the vaccine shots?

Those who have any of these 20 co-morbidities will be prioritized for vaccination:

  1. Heart failure with hospitalization in the past one year.
  2. Left ventricular assist device in end-stage heart disease.
  3. Left ventricular systolic dysfunction.
  4. Moderate or severe valvular heart disease.
  5. Congenital heart disease with severe pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  6. Coronary artery disease with hypertension or diabetes.
  7. Undergoing treatment for angina (chest pain) with hypertension or diabetes.
  8. Documented stroke case with hypertension or diabetes (on treatment).
  9. Pulmonary artery hypertension and hypertension or diabetes (on treatment).
  10. Diabetes less than 10 years or with complications and hypertension (on treatment).
  11. Those who have undergone heart, kidney, liver or haematopoietic stem cell transplant.
  12. End-stage kidney disease on dialysis.
  13. Those on prolonged use of oral corticosteroids or immunosuppressant medications.
  14. Those with decompensated cirrhosis.
  15. Any respiratory disease including hospitalisation in the past two years.
  16. Lymphoma, leukaemia or myeloma.
  17. Those diagnosed with cancer on or after July 1, 2020, or currently undergoing cancer therapy.
  18. Sickle Cell Disease, bone marrow failure, aplastic anemia or thalassemia major.
  19. HIV infection, or primary immunodeficiency diseases.
  20. Those with multiple disabilities such as blindness, deafness, acid attack with the involvement of respiratory tract, muscular dystrophy, intellectual disabilities, disabled requiring high support needs.

How to register?

You can register on the upgraded version of the CoWIN app. Download CoWIN from the app store or visit cowin.gov.in. You need to enter your mobile number, Aadhaar number or any other government identification number. However, you may experience delays on the portal, as crores of people would be trying to register themselves.

Once you have registered, you will get a list of all vaccination centres in your vicinity, from which you will have to choose a centre and a time slot. Though you can also walk into a centre without registration, if the quota for the day is over, you’ll be asked to return the next day. Once you choose a centre and time slot, you cannot change it.

How much do I need to pay for the vaccination?

At government hospitals, the vaccination is done for free. At private facilities, you will have to pay a maximum of Rs 250 per dose. One has to get two shots of the vaccine to complete the process.

In pics | PM Modi receives his first COVID-19 vaccine dose

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. The vaccine was administered to the prime minister as part of the program to inoculate a massive chunk of the population aged above 60 and above 45 with comorbidities. (Image: IANS)
The prime minister took to Twitter to inform people about him receiving the first dose of the vaccine. (Image: Official source)
The vaccination drive aims to reach around 27 crore people who are on the priority list behind healthcare and frontline workers. (Image: Official source)
Private hospitals can charge Rs 150 for vaccines and Rs 100 for service charges as fixed by the central government, whereas it will be free of cost in government facilities. (Image: Official source)
Around 10,000 hospitals empanelled under Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY and 687 hospitals under CGHS can be used by states as vaccination centres (CVCs). (Text: IANS/ Image: Official source)

All UK children to get free COVID-19 test kits

Britain’s government says families with children in school will be provided with free coronavirus home test kits as part of plans for schools to reopen beginning on March 8. Free, twice-weekly tests will be provided to children’s households regardless of whether anyone has symptoms, officials said Sunday. The tests will also be offered to adults working with schools, including bus drivers.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said testing family members will provide another layer of reassurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible. Schools in England have been closed except to children of key workers since January.

Also Read: US FDA gives emergency use authorisation to COVID-19 vaccine from J&J

Britain is also racing ahead with its vaccination program, with almost 20 million in the UK who have now had the first jab. Some 2 million people aged 60 to 63 in England will start getting invitations to book their shots beginning on Monday. The government aims to offer a first jab to all adults by the end of July.

Britain has Europe’s worst virus death toll at nearly 123,000 dead.

Click here: For the latest news and updates on COVID-19

Coronavirus news highlights: UK tracks Brazilian variant, Nepal looks to buy 2 mn vaccines from India

Coronavirus news highlights: India’s COVID-19 tally surpassed 1.11 crore on Monday with 15,510 new infections, while the active cases registered an increase for the fifth consecutive day and were recorded at 1,68,627, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The total coronavirus cases reached 1,11,12,241 in the country, while the death toll rose to 1,57,157 with 106 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am on Monday showed. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,07,86,457, which translates to a national COVID-19 recovery rate of 97.07 percent, it stated. The case fatality rate has dropped to 1.41 percent. The active cases further increased to 1,68,627, which comprises 1.52 percent of the total infections, as per the data.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16.
It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 21,68,58,774 samples have been tested for coronavirus till February 28, with 6,27,668 samples being tested on Sunday.

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