Opening COVID vaccination for multiple age groups created scarcity: SII

New Delhi: Opening up vaccinations against Covid for people from all age groups led to the scarcity of vaccines, a senior Serum Institute of India official said on Friday.

India first rolled out vaccinations for healthcare workers on January 16, and for people above 45 years on April 1, and finally for people above 18 years from May 1.

“Initially, 300 million people targeted for vaccination for which 600 million dosages of vaccines were required, but before we reached the target, additional age groups were added starting from 45 years onwards, followed by 18 years onwards,” SII Executive Director Suresh Jadhav said at the the 17th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad series e-summit.

“We should have followed the WHO guidelines and prioritised the vaccination accordingly to avoid scarcity. Still 50 per cent of paramedical staff haven’t been vaccinated,” he added.

While vaccination is necessary, following the Covid preventive guidelines is essential because even after vaccination, one can be susceptible to the virus, he stressed.

On the efficacy of vaccines, Jadhav stated that the selection of vaccines is based on the CDC and NIH data.

“Whatever vaccine is available can be taken provided it is licensed by the regulatory body. And it is too early to say which vaccine is efficacious and which is not,” he noted.

The second wave of Covid pandemic has been far more devastating than the first, wreaking havoc in India despite the ongoing vaccination drive. The e-Summit was organised by HEAL Health to discuss the vaccine conundrum, demystifying the reasons behind the resurgence of Covid and about the predicted gruesome Covid 3.0.

HEAL Health Group founder Swadeep Srivastava said: “We have been passing through a tough time now because the wave of Covid 2.0 was not anticipated as deadly as it has unfolded. This time, many of the infected died because of the lack of oxygen. The oxygen crisis has also been unprecedented. Therefore, to combat the Covid 3.0, we need to follow the Covid preventive measures stringently and get vaccinated compulsorily.”


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