The government is not considering vaccinating the entire country as and when a vaccine for coronavirus is approved, heath secretary Rajesh Bhushan indicated today, saying it is a matter of discussion across the world whether people who once contracted coronavirus and have antibodies, are going to need it.
“The government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country,” Mr Bhushan said a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the three key facilities that are working on a vaccine. His office said the visit was meant to help him get a “first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens”.
Decisions are also being made about the logistics of vaccine transportation and distribution and who receives the vaccine first is also under deliberation.
Mr Bhushan, at a press meet today, clarified that the goal is to work towards a critical mass of vaccinated people that would break the chain of transmission.
The national expert group on vaccine administration headed by Dr VK Paul has given a mandate one of which mentions that it is not necessary to vaccine those with already formed antibodies, Mr Bhushan said.
Dr Balram Bhargava, the chief of Indian Council of Medical Research, the country’s nodal organisaton for the battle against COVID-19, agreed. “If we are able to vaccinate critical mass of people and break the virus transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population”.
“Many other nations are looking into whether they need to deliberate when one has already developed antibodies from a prior covid infection before vaccinating him. Does he have enough antibodies? There has been no final decision on this. But this is a topic of discussion among scientific community and other nations,” Mr Bhushan said.