Year : 2021  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55--59

Vaccination as a strategy to prevent or mitigate a potential COVID-19 third wave in India

T Rajgopal1, Bobby Joseph2,  
1 Chief Operating Officer, Breach Candy Hospital Trust, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Division of Occupational Health Services, Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Bobby Joseph
Division of Occupational Health Services, Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka

How to cite this article:
Rajgopal T, Joseph B. Vaccination as a strategy to prevent or mitigate a potential COVID-19 third wave in India.Indian J Occup Environ Med 2021;25:55-59

How to cite this URL:
Rajgopal T, Joseph B. Vaccination as a strategy to prevent or mitigate a potential COVID-19 third wave in India. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jul 27 ];25:55-59
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Full Text

The current stage of the COVID-19 pandemic of COVID-19 has been labeled as the second wave in India and in many other countries. The situation in India is depicted in the following figure [Figure 1].[1]{Figure 1}

In India, the peak from the first wave was around September/October 2020 with the second wave peak being reached around June 2021 – the second wave affected significantly more individuals with a lesser fatality rate. [Figure 2].[1]{Figure 2}

In terms of vaccinating the population, currently, around 3.5% of Indians have received both doses with around 12% receiving the first dose till June 17th. A significant proportion of Indias population hence needs to be vaccinated. [Figure 3] compares the proportion of people vaccinated fully in India, with other top-performing countries.{Figure 3}

Whereas India is not projected to have disproportionately high mortality till August 2021, vaccination as a strategy will significantly lower COVID-19 associated mortalities. Vaccination is believed to reduce premature deaths.[2]

Vaccination against COVID-19 has been shown to minimize effects from the variants of concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently defines variants of concern as a variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), a significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.[3] The current variants of concern include B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B.1.617.2 (Delta), B. 1.427 and B.1.429 (Epsilon), and P. 1 (Gamma).

[Table 1] depicts the various vaccines authorized for use across different countries in the world.[4] In India, the vaccine produced by the Serum Institute (COVISHIELD) and that produced by the Bharat Biotech (COVAXIN), and the Sputnik vaccines are currently authorized for vaccinating the Indian population above the age of 18 years. [Table 2] lists the candidate vaccines with phase 3 trials in progress or are announced.[4]{Table 1}{Table 2}

The WHO has advised that scaling up vaccine manufacturing and rolling out vaccines as quickly and widely as possible will also be critical ways of protecting people before they are exposed to the virus and the risk of new variants. Priority should be given to vaccinating high-risk groups everywhere to maximize global protection against new variants and minimize the risk of transmission.[5]

It is also important to address the issue of vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine hesitancy permeates all social groups and classes – low levels of hesitancy are prevalent among the medical and health care fraternity as well. It is suggested that proper and effective strategic communication with a “localized” public education and role-modelling from public officials and health authorities can help to build public trust.[6]

Sallam M recommended building COVID-19 vaccination trust among the general public, via the spread of timely and clear messages through trusted channels advocating the safety and efficacy of currently available COVID-19 vaccines.[7]

The government in an effort to ensure equitable vaccine access has now ensured direct purchase from the manufacturers with the private sector being allowed to charge an additional 150 rupees as administration charges.[8] The government has fixed prices for the three approved vaccines at INR 780 for Covishield, INR 1145 for Sputnik V, and INR 1410 for Covaxin.

Public-private partnerships will play a huge role in the vaccination drive. Private hospitals can partner with the state governments and the private sector to vaccinate employees and their family members. Additionally, as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives, large companies can aim to reach the workers in the unorganized sector who form a significant proportion of the country's working population. Vaccination drives are currently encouraged in housing societies as well – this presents another avenue to the private sector.

Vaccination coupled with nonpharmaceutical measures such as universal masking, maintaining physical distancing, and practicing hand hygiene would be the key to preventing and mitigating the potential third wave in India.


1COVID 19 Data Explorer. Our World in Data. Available from: [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 19].
2Emanuel EJ, Persad G, Kern A, Buchanan A, Fabre C, Halliday D, et al. An ethical framework for global vaccine allocation. Science 2020;369:1309-12.
3SARS-COV-2. Variant classifications and definitions. CDC. Available from: -info.html#Concern. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 21].
4Available from: 2019/vaccines#vaccine-development. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 19].
5Available from: of-virus-variants-on-covid-19-vaccines. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 19].
6Vergara RJD, Sarmiento PJD, Lagman JDN. Building public trust: A response to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy predicament. J Public Health (Oxf) 2021;43:e291-2.
7Sallam, M. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy worldwide: A concise systematic review of vaccine acceptance rates. Vaccines 2021;9:160. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9020160.
8Available from: Guidelines.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 21].