Health Ministry: We never mentioned we’d vaccinate entire population
New Delhi: In the wake of reporting of two adverse events which occurred with the volunteers during the vaccine trial, the fear and hesitation among the people to take the vaccine is growing. However, the union health ministry on Tuesday said that the government doesn’t intend to immunise each individual with the Covid-19 vaccine.
“There is an inherent issue of vaccine hesitancy which may have nothing to do with adverse events. A section of population thinks that it does not require vaccination,” stated Rajesh Bhushan, union health secretary during a press briefing.
Prof Balram Bhargava, Director General (DG) of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also said that the government aims to break the chain of the virus first by vaccinating a critical mass of the population. “Our purpose is to break the chain of the virus. If we are able to vaccinate a critical mass of people and break virus transmission then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population,” he added.
However he also added that the efficacy of the vaccine is an issue leading to hesitancy among the people to undergo the vaccination since it may remain 60% effective in some individuals while it may reach 70% efficacy in others.
However, Bhushan stated that it is the responsibility of the Union and the state government to allay fears among the people regarding the vaccine. “It is the states and union government’s responsibility to educate the people about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine while countering the disinformation,” he said.
The union health secretary also informed that the government is preparing detailed guidelines regarding vaccine administration which may come within the next two weeks. “One of the issues mentioned in the guidelines deals with the aspect of vaccine safety. Our aim is to tell people what would be the effect and benefit of taking a vaccine to a person and at large,” Bhushan said.
Meanwhile, Bhargava stressed upon the importance of masks, stating that it is vitally important now and will continue to be even after the vaccination. “Since we would be starting the vaccination with a small population, the use of masks has to be continued as it is effective in breaking the chain of the virus,” he explained.