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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Vaccine drive to be extended; no reason to doubt efficacy: Harsh Vardhan

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said India has vaccinated 3.5-4 crore people so far and side effects of the vaccines has been recorded at 0.000432 per cent.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 20, 2021 6:22:03 am
Harsh Vardhan

The government Friday said that the Covid-19 vaccination drive will be extended and stressed that no one should have any misgivings about the effectiveness of the vaccines in India.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said India has vaccinated 3.5 to 4 crore people so far and side effects of the vaccines has been recorded at 0.000432 per cent.

“Every vaccine does not require universal immunisation and all these priority groups whom we are vaccinating today like healthcare staff first and then senior citizens and people aged between 45 and 59 years, it will be extended in the coming days all these are based on experts’ opinion but we have also consulted WHO guidelines,” he told the Lok Sabha following a question raised by Ravneet Singh, Congress leader of the House during the Question Hour.

Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have been currently approved for restricted emergency use in India.

Replying to a question by NCP MP Supriya Sule on whether the government is aiming at universal immunisation of Covid-19 vaccine, Vardhan said it is not scientifically necessary to administer the vaccine to each and every person in the country.

“Not each and every person in the world will be vaccinated. The prioritisation process is a dynamic process. The behaviour of the virus is also dynamic. All things are based on scientific facts, scrutiny and vision of the overall scientific and health community,” he said.

Vardhan said under India’s present universal immunization programme, free vaccines are provided against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases, including Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Rubella, severe form of Childhood Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and Meningitis, among others.

Congress leader Ravneet Singh had asked whether the vaccines had side effects passed on to the DNA of the receiver and that such fears were doing the rounds among people.

“There is no need to fear vaccines. We got victory over polio and chicken pox due to the vaccination,” he said.
There are detailed pre-clinical and clinical trials, which get thoroughly studied by the experts before a vaccine gets the nod, the minister said, adding that “There should not be any misconception regarding the Covid-19 vaccines and the people should avail the facilities given by the government get themselves vaccinated.”

Citing the work done by the group of experts called the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC)), Vardhan said that much of the credit of the vaccination drive goes to the work done by the group.

“What you are seeing today is the hard work of the people in the ministry and this group, which was set up by the prime minister in August. Since then, they have been working closely regarding all scientific developments related to this,” he said.

The minister also pointed out that the Subject Expert Committee has cleared two Indian vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) after examining data provided by these

Data provided by two Indian companies was also examined by the World Health Organisation, he added.

Replying to questions on Thalassemia, asked by his party MP Maneka Gandhi, Vardhan said, that not a single Thalassemia patient was deprived of blood during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

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