Government has never spoken about vaccinating everyone, against COVID , said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday, speaking at a press conference in the national capital. He added that it is important to discuss such scientific issues based on factual information only.
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“Vaccination would depend on the efficacy of the vaccine and our purpose is to break the chain of virus transmission. If we’re able to vaccinate a critical mass of people and break virus transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population,” said Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Balram Bhargava, who was also present at the presser.
Reacting to recent allegation of an adverse reaction complaint by a 40-year-old volunteer for ‘Covishield’, the candidate vaccine being tested by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the Ministry stated that adverse events are unlikely to impact the delivery timeline of COVID vaccine.
It listed out the various mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of the volunteers participating in drug/vaccine testing and ensuring the efficacy of the end product.
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“Adverse events do occur with drugs or vaccines or any other health intervention. It is the role of the regulator after collating all data to ascertain or refute whether there is a link between the event and intervention,” said Dr. Bhargava.
The Ministry said that at the start of a clinical trial subjects are expected to sign a prior informed consent form.
“This is global practice; it happens across all countries. The form tells the subject about possible adverse events that may happen in case one decides to participate in the trial. Also clinical trials are multi-centric and multi-site where each site has an institutional ethics committee independent of manufacturer or government control and in case of any adverse event, this committee gives its report to the Drug Controller General of India,” Mr. Bhushan said.
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“Also the Data Safety Monitoring Board monitors clinical trials from day-to-day basis and keeps an eye on adverse events. These reports are analysed by the Drug Controller and action taken accordingly,”he added.
The Ministry added that India currently is recording one of the lowest COVID cases per million world-wide.
Lowest positivity rates
“The average daily positivity rate last week was 3.72% and among all the big nations, the cases per million in India are the lowest. The last seven days trends show that European nations are witnessing a surge in COVID cases,” said Mr. Bhushan.
He added that India’s cumulative positivity rate has decreased from 7.15% to 6.69% during November 11-December 1 period. “In November 2020, the number of recoveries has been more than the number of new cases,” Mr. Bhushan said.
The country reported a total 12,78,727 COVID cases in November, a decrease from October’s 18,71,498, accounting for about 13.51% of the total Covid-19 infections reported so far, said the data released by the Ministry. It added that a total of 88,89,585 people has recovered from the infection so far.
In the past 24 hours, India reported 31,118 fresh cases, pushing the country’s tally to 94,62,809 and the death toll climbed to 137,621 after 482 new fatalities were recorded during this period.