is currently struggling with unprecedented cases of COVID-19, crossing the
tally of 4 lakh per day. There is lack of oxygen, hospital beds, doctors and also
hope. Crematoriums and burial grounds have run out of space and the dead are
being cremated wherever possible. In these tough times, everyone is pinning
hopes on Coronavirus vaccination, which can reduce the fatality rate drastically.
The smallpox vaccine lymph arrived in India in May 1802 and was first sent to Bombay (now Mumbai) followed by Madras (now Chennai), Poona (Pune), Hyderabad and Surat.
Back then, the vaccines were administered by ‘travelling vaccinators’ who were trained and went from place to place to inoculate every one. In the later years of the century, the vaccination was implemented through ‘vaccination and sanitary departments’ and there were Sanitary Commissioners who were given the charge of these efforts.
The outbreak of cholera and plague in India (1896-1907) followed by the Influenza Pandemic coinciding with the First World War (1914-1918) greatly influenced the vaccination efforts in India. The responsibility of vaccination was passed on to the local governments by the Centre. Also the typhoid vaccine trials began in 1904 and lasted until 1908.