Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stated on Friday that there shouldn't be any misconceptions about the two vaccines being administered to people as part of the country's nationwide vaccination drive. "No one should have any doubts about COVID-19 vaccines. I urge all to take the vaccine shots," said Vardhan.
During the Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Friday, Vardhan said 3.5 to 4 crore people have been vaccinated so far in India and side effects have been detected in only 0.000432% of vaccine recipients.
"Every vaccine doesn't require universal immunisation and all these priority groups whom we are vaccinating today like healthcare staff first and then senior citizens and people aged between 45 and 59 years, it will be extended in the coming days -- all these are based on experts' opinion," stated Vardhan. "Not only Indian experts, but we have also consulted WHO guidelines regarding priority groups," he added.
Serum Insititute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are the two vaccines that have been approved for restricted emergency use in the country.
Replying to a question on universal immunisation, Vardhan said that it is not scientifically necessary to inoculate every person in the country. "Not each and every person in the world will be vaccinated. The prioritisation process is dynamic. The behaviour of the virus is also dynamic. All things are based on scientific facts, scrutiny and vision of the overall scientific and health community," he said.
Vardhan explained that under India's current universal immunisation programme, free vaccines are available for 12 vaccine-presentable diseases. These are - Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Rubella, severe form of Childhood Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and Meningitis, among others.
Responding to a question on fear among people that the vaccine will harm them in future, Vardhan said, "We got victory over polio and chickenpox due to the vaccination". "There should not be any misconception regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and the people should avail the facilities given by the government to get themselves vaccinated," Vardhan added.