India’s entire population may not get vaccinated, says Union Health Secretary

New Delhi: With the Centre holding back to back meeting to review covid-19 vaccine development being monitored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, the year-long wait to find a successful treatment against the virus seems to come to an end. According to latest reports, PM Modi has now called for an all party meeting on December 4 to discuss covid-19 situation as well as plan vaccination drive across the country. 

Meanwhile, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday said that the government plans to vaccinate a critical mass of the population first in order to break the chain of transmission.

Speaking at the weekly briefing of the pandemic, Bhushan said that the government has not spoken about vaccinating the entire country and it is important to get factual information on this topic, signaling that entire population may not get the vaccine.

His words were echoed by ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava who said that it may not be necessary to vaccinate the entire population and decision will largely depend on the efficacy of the vaccine. 

“The question would depend on the efficacy of the vaccine; there is a range, it may be 60 per cent efficacy in someone of or 70 per cent in another. The second issue is that our purpose is to break the chain of virus transmission. If we are able to vaccinate a critical mass of people and break the transmission, we might not have to vaccinate the entire population. “

“Also, the role of masks is important and will continue even after the vaccination because we are starting with a small population at a time. Therefore, mask will continue to be used to help break the chain of viral transmission.”

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Bhushan added that the national expert group on vaccine administration is also discussing the chances whether a certain population has already developed antibodies against the virus. 

However, he pointed out that the current mandate by WHO during the vaccine trials is to vaccinate without learning if the volunteer has developed antibodies against the virus. 

Meanwhile, the Union Health secretary added that Health Ministry has urged all the states to splash down the covid-19 testing rates. 

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