January 16, 2021 1:58:38 am
As the nationwide Covid-19 immunisation programme begins on Saturday, the Indian Medical Association has urged its 3.5 lakh members — across 1,800 local branches — to actively promote the vaccine and aid in preventing the coronavirus infection.
“The IMA has always propagated preventive medicines and the importance of vaccines in building immunity among people. This time, it is against the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic. The IMA has delivered its expertise through its members across the country during the last 10 months. We have also extended our professional expertise to the administration during the active phase of the pandemic, “ Dr JA Jayalal, IMA national president, told The Indian Express on Friday.
Dr Jayesh Lele, honorary secretary general at IMA HQ, said that doctors performed their duties in a fearless manner, against all odds, while the world was under mass quarantine. The IMA lost as many as 732 doctors while on Covid duty, he added.
The IMA has expressed its support for the government with respect to the Covid vaccination drive and urged citizens to not be misled by myths that are making rounds on social media against this crucial exercise, Dr Lele said. “These myths are creating unreasonable queries among people. Vaccines are for building immunity in the human body and decrease the chances of contracting illnesses. The public should be aware of these basic facts,” he further said.
“As a professional body of modern medicine, the IMA accepts the challenge of putting the vaccination drive on track. We perceive public awareness as a natural responsibility and each IMA professional across the country will assist in the immunisation programme,” Dr Jayalal said.
The IMA has further appealed that people should adhere to Covid protocols such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance even after being vaccinated.
Scientists stress on need for transparency
A group of noted scientists have expressed their concern about the inadequate information — available to the public — regarding the approvals for the vaccine campaign that were issued by national regulatory authorities. “We are concerned about the necessity of following essential safeguards in a transparent manner before releasing a vaccine for public use,” said Partha P Majumder of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani.
“A greater degree of transparency prior to the vaccination programme is essential. This is especially true for Covaxin, for which phase 3 trial and efficacy data are not yet available. We appreciate the efforts that Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research have put in to develop a vaccine formulation, which is said to have promising results in phase 1/2 human trials on a small number of people. However, It is imperative that relevant data from the larger phase 3 trial become available, before administering the vaccine to a large number of people,” read a statement issued by over 15 senior scientists.
“Providing a vaccine without adequate efficacy data can lead to a false sense of security among vaccine recipients. Additionally, the articulation of a clear and consistent policy of making the relevant data publicly available, and the approval pathway adopted by the Government of India, is required for other vaccines in development, to ensure rapid access to safe and efficacious vaccines… We are not being pessimistic; our concern is only with the necessity of following essential safeguards in a transparent manner before releasing a vaccine for public use,” added the statement issued by scientists in their personal capacities.
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