A senior scientist in India told BBC that India began delivering Covid-19 vaccines using commercial drones to accelerate the vaccination drive.

Dr Samiran Panda stated that drones have been used in order to administer doses in mountainous areas in the country’s northern-east.

India has set a goal to immunize all citizens within the next 2021, but experts warn that the pace of the effort must be steady to achieve this target.

India has already administered more than 925 million jabs.

Official data shows that 70% of eligible citizens have had at least one dose.

India reports more than 33,000,000 Covid cases, which is second only to the US. There have also been more than 440,000 deaths.

India’s first drone delivery of vaccines was tested in Manipur, north-eastern India on Monday.

  • The Covid crisis in India: A visual guide

The drone that carried ten doses of medication flew 12 minutes from Bishnupur, India to the Karang island in Loktak. It was carrying drugs and reached its destination on the Karang island. Loktak is a large lake covering 240km. The trip to Karang is about four hours long by road and boat. There are approximately 3,500 residents.

Chief scientist Dr Panda and Head of Epidemiology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that the test run went well and that 10 people took the shots.

Manipur, Nagaland, and other states are expected to ship doses to distant villages. The journey, which takes as long as 12 hours, is often made by mountain roads and over streams.

The drones can also ferry the doses to Nicobar and Andamans, where transport by boat was slow.

We are working fast to prevent any outbreaks of disease in remote, sparsely populated areas. Dr. Panda explained that people can get sick if they are not able to receive intensive care, ventilators or oxygen.

Government drones are capable of carrying a maximum payload of 4.5kg, 900 doses or flying 70km to ferry the doses.

India has distributed more than 925 million pills since January 16, 2001.

Over 670 Million people have already received their first dose, while another 255,000,000 have had both.

India distributed more than 20,000,000 pills in just one day, marking Prime Minister NarendraModi’s 71st birth anniversary.

Although record breaking days seem encouraging, experts agree that vaccination rates must rise steadily. To fully immunize all adults eligible for vaccination by 2021, India will need to administer more than 10,000,000 doses per day.

A lot will depend upon the levels of vaccine resistance and availability of vaccines within the next months.

India has reported a decrease in daily case counts – less than 4000 new cases per day over the last month.

However, doctors are concerned that there will be a third round of the disease because the country has reopened fully and the possibility exists that new versions might emerge.

Experts are concerned about a gender gap. According to government data, 6% more women have been vaccinated than men. In rural India, where there is limited internet access and women feel hesitant or afraid about getting the vaccine, this problem is particularly acute.

Although rural areas receive fewer doses per day, urban populations are still more likely to be vaccinated.

Most countries in the world have difficulty getting vaccines. This challenge is especially difficult for developing nations, which India, the world’s biggest vaccine producer, did not expect.

The government of Modi didn’t order vaccine manufacturers in time. They were forced to increase the number of people who are able to get the drugs too fast to almost a billion by a second devastating wave that hit April.

According to the Supreme Court, in June the government stated that the 1.35billion doses of vaccine will be made available by August or December. To vaccinate every Indian adult who is eligible, it would require 1.8 billion doses.

India currently uses three vaccines: The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is known in India as Covishield. Covaxin is made by Indian biotech Bharat Biotech. Russian-made Sputnik V.

India approved also its first vaccine to treat children below 18.

A Cadila Healthcare interim study found that the ZyCoVV-D vaccine, three doses of which prevented 66% from developing symptomatic disease, was found in only 66%. ZyCoV?D is also the world’s first anti-Covid-19 DNA vaccine.

Indian pharmaceutical firm Cipla was also authorized to import Moderna’s vaccine. It has proven nearly 95% effective against Covid-19. It is not yet clear how many Indian doses of Moderna’s vaccine will be available.

Numerous other vaccines are currently in different stages.

Vaccination is voluntary. There are more than 70 000 centres offering vaccinations. However, people may also be able to pay privately for the jabs.

To provide free medication at public hospitals, state-run clinics and health centers, the government spends around $5bn

Side effects can occur when people receive vaccines.

India has an existing surveillance program that monitors “adverse incidents” occurring after vaccinations. It is 34 years old. Experts believe that failures to disclose such instances could cause fear-mongering surrounding vaccines.

As of 17 May, India had reported over 23,000 adverse events after getting vaccinated. They were mostly classified as minor, which means they included anxiety, vertigo (giddiness), dizziness and fever, among others.

The study also looked at 700 “severe adverse” cases and found 488 deaths by June.

However, the government stated that this didn’t mean they died from vaccinations. They also said that the risk of death following vaccination was negligible when compared with the risk associated with Covid-19.

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