Health

Coronavirus | Need to expand scope of vaccination beyond identified groups, says CSIR-CCMB Director

Director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology Rakesh K. Mishra   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

The two vaccines for coronavirus — Covishield of Oxford University-AstraZeneca and made by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech — cleared by the regulatory authorities and the government should be made available, if sufficient stocks are at hand, to all those coming forward for the jab, suggests CSIR-CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra.

“Already more than four crore people have taken the vaccine and if we can consider it to be a safety trial, it has been successful. We need to increase the timings and open up for allowing vaccinations outside the hospitals too,” he maintained in a recent exclusive interaction. In the first part of the interaction, which was published on March 18, Mr. Mishra explained how the surge in COVID-19 cases is due to social behaviour and not any new virus variant.

“If the vaccines are available and the identified age groups are not coming forward, it is better to invite all those interested as it is not wise to waste doses and vials or delay for those willing to take,” he affirmed. Vaccine hesitancy and the ‘weird’ stories about dangers of vaccination coming even from the advanced nations is “deplorable”, he said.

First, he advises that ‘politics’ of any hue should be shunned and people should be informed that there is evidence of antibodies against the virus lasting for several months as the number of reinfections have been negligible so far.

“We can also be reasonably assured that the vaccine will give us a year’s protection or maybe more because the body’s memory cells are capable of fighting any intruder later on. So, there is no need to fret over whether we need another dose next year or if something will happen to the bodies five years later,” said Mr. Mishra.

“While we cannot completely rule out that nothing will happen years later, we have to remember that these two vaccines have been made through time-tested reliable platforms that have been proven to be safe and effective in the past,” he explained.

Taking the vaccine is “our social responsibility”, because otherwise, unwittingly and asymptomatically, one may spread the infection to someone more vulnerable. “The safety part has been proven, let’s not get into the nitty-gritty. If we do not take the vaccine and do not strictly follow disciplined ways of social vaccine, one more lockdown is looming over us which could cause more devastation,” warned the CCMB Director.


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 1:08:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/need-to-expand-scope-of-vaccination-beyond-identified-groups/article34118699.ece

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