The government never spoke about vaccinating the entire country against coronavirus, said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at the daily briefing on the pandemic on Tuesday. His response came in reaction to a question as to how it will take to vaccinate the entire population. Bhushan said it is important that we discuss such scientific issues based on factual information only.
Adding to the response Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said that the primary objective of vaccination is to break the COVID-19 transmission chain.
"Vaccination would depend on the efficacy of the vaccine and our purpose is to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. If we're able to vaccinate critical mass of people and break virus transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population," said Bhargava.
Vacccination has been touted as the final defence against the novel coronavirus. As vaccine manufacturers race to develop an inoculation against the respiratory virus, people have been forced to live indoors for the better part of a year. The matter of vaccination had even turned political in the recently held Bihar state assembly elections after the Bharatiya Janata Party promised free COVID-19 vaccine if it came to power in the state. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won these polls.
During the briefing, Health Secretary Bhushan added that adverse events during COVID-19 vaccine trials will not affect the timeline whatsoever. He was responding to a question about adverse effect in the vaccine trials being conducted by the Serum Institute of India.
"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 causal link between the event and intervention," said ICMR chief Dr Bhargava.