VP calls for stepping up COVID vaccine supply

Urges scientific fraternity to expedite development of vaccine for children

July 30, 2021 08:13 pm | Updated 08:14 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu at Bharat Biotech International Limited after a plant visit at Genome Valley in Hyderabad.

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu at Bharat Biotech International Limited after a plant visit at Genome Valley in Hyderabad.

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday has underscored the need for stepping up COVID vaccine supply rapidly and administering them to all citizens as quickly as possible to deal with the unforeseen challenges posed by the constantly mutating coronavirus.

Since the Centre intended to vaccinate all the eligible adults by the year end, he was confident of the immunisation drive picking up pace in the months ahead and also urged the scientific fraternity to focus on expediting development of COVID vaccine for children.

“Protecting children from the virus should be accorded priority,” he affirmed in his address to scientists and staff of Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) after a plant visit at Genome Valley here. Vaccination drive against COVID-19 should become a pan-India people’s movement and he appealed to the people to immunise themselves by taking the required vaccine doses.

“There is no room for vaccine hesitancy. Everyone should get vaccinated as there is no other powerful way to protect ourselves and the people around us,” he said. Development of a nasal vaccine was an important initiative to reduce vaccine hesitancy and improve the ease of administering.

Mr. Naidu said vaccination helps in preventing hospitalisation and severity even when infected so it was also up to the media and medical fraternity to educate people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and shed vaccine hesitancy.

People should continue to adhere to masking, physical distancing and personal hygiene and not become complacent due to “temporary decline in cases”. Ramping up health infrastructure and ecosystem support should be expedited. Political parties, leaders and their followers should follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and “act responsibly as we cannot afford to invite the third wave”, he warned.

The VP lauded scientists at BBIL for developing an effective indigenous Covaxin in record time by collaborating with Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology while specifically complimenting ‘optimism and dynamism’ of chairman and managing director Krishna Ella and joint managing director Suchitra Ella.

The firm has delivered more than four billion doses of vaccines worldwide and has a product portfolio of more than 16 vaccines and four bio-therapeutics, including vaccines for Hepatitis-B, Influenza H1N1, Polio and Rotavirus, he noted.

Mr. Naidu said Hyderabad has emerged as the hub for vaccines and bulk drugs with Genome Valley driving the growth in this sector and the recently-sanctioned Central Drug Laboratories too would help. Telangana Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali, BBIL whole-time director V. Krishna Mohan and heads of various divisions of the company attended the event.

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