Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

Covid-19 Vaccine: Myths, Facts and Where India Stands?

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Bengaluru,05 June(HS): The whole country is embroiled over the Covid-19 vaccine scenario. There’s not much difference on the ground situation, irrespective of the states or Union Territories. People continue to grumble on the paucity of these vaccines and many of them are still sweating even to have the first dose itself.

Soon after the first wave and once vaccines started to pile out from the laboratories, it’s altogether an adverse condition. As we love to figure out politics in everything, the vaccine was no exception. So-called leaders of different parties, state and national felt it the right time to hurl abuses at the government and the Prime Minister.
They went to the extent of declaring it to be “Modi and BJP Vaccine”, swearing publicly against getting it injected. People apolitical too got confused and perplexed in the melee. But by then the manufacturing process was in full swing. The patented companies had pumped in huge investments over the exercise.
Thanks to the initial reluctance of the general public and by and large no takers sort of situation, the companies approached the authorities. They pleaded with the government to permit them to export the produced stuff and eventually succeeded also.
But as the second wave began to take its fatal toll, panicking also came to the streets. All those who had opposed tooth and nail had the maiden shot and ensured the fact became widely known!
The reluctance to vaccines is nothing new to this country. If you happen to peep into the history pages, the stiff opposition has also been felt in the case of smallpox and leprosy. The blind beliefs against vaccination are in abundance while irresponsible media stance is adding fuel.
Dr KR Sreedhar, senior Psychatriast opines: Such blind beliefs have their own contribution in spreading the dastardly effect like never before. People should desist from such notions, get vaccinated, wear a mask, maintain social distance and remain indoors, he points out.
Dr SR Narahari, Director, Institute of Applied Dermatology(IAD), Kasargod in Kerala surges with emotional patriotism: In the given situation, the Government is doing a wonderful job. In spite of untold adversity, the situation is far far better in comparison to many well-developed countries. It’s easy to criticise. But to act in challenging situations is not an easy task, he remarks.
Dr Deepak V. Haldipur, a renowned ENT surgeon known for his candid remarks, blasts the TV channels for canards connected with the vaccine: Initially, they started propagating that people will lose their reproductive capacity. Then some even went to the extent of declaring that people will die. Many indulged in concocting side effect theories. Every day people die in accidents. But, no one has stopped travelling or flying. In a way the given situation is nothing else but our collective failure as a nation, he complains.
Dr Vishnu Bhat, former Director Medical Research, Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research(JIPMER), Puducherry puts forth the issue in an interesting manner: There could be a lot of confusion among the political parties. But the Government is trying its best in the present circumstances. The population is large while the production is not happening to the desired extent. Although the production has taken pace, it’s not sufficient for the large populace. The patented company to manufacture will not transfer the patent…
…Blood trial or clinical trial for adults has taken place and it has been found okay. But there has been no such exercise with the younger population. External protein in the form of a deadly virus is injected. It will produce antibodies and not side effects. If any such symptoms, it would be a result of one’s health conditions and nothing to do with the vaccine, he clarifies.
He also makes a note of the peculiar features associated with the present crisis: Once a vial is opened, it cannot be kept nor unused. Moreover, we do not have desired temporary storage facilities from the manufacturing facility until the end-user point. Our system has some inherent problems. Yet, Government is doing a good job. Some things cannot change overnight. These days, you have online registrations. They also issue a certificate. All these are good initiatives, he praises.
What’s this Vaccine all about?: In Covishield a protein similar to the virus is used. In the case of Covaxin, a deadly virus is deployed. Normally, this is not the way vaccines are developed. But due to extraordinary circumstances, these things are being carried out. You only have the options of producing more or import. Probably the situation may improve in due course. Yes, distribution is a challenge and more so in far-flung remote areas. However, elderly people need to be vaccinated. And over a period of time, all need to be done so, he feels.
Does that mean getting the vaccine is the end of all woes? No says, Dr Vishnu Bhat. He asserts: It’s difficult to predict. Nature gives the opportunity to exist for every living being. The virus will learn to live irrespective of the adverse situation. The genetic material continues to keep changing more frequently. In fact, our body welcomes foreign material as it has natural protection. the body will fight with the foreign particle. Since this particle is given in small doses, the body has all the strength to fight. But when the real enemy attacks, it will be finished. It’s basically taming the body to face the enemies. There are enough enemies in the environment. But people continue to exist as they have also developed enough immunity to coexist, he elaborates.
Then why so many deaths?: More people are dying because of multiple infections. These days the recovery rate is more than 90 per cent. Most of them may not have more issues as all these factors are dependent upon the immunity level. The priority now is to increase the availability of vaccines and ensure their reach to the rural and remote areas, concluded Dr Vishnu Bhat.
22 Crores Vaccinated; Three Crores Infections: According to Google, 22 Crore people have been vaccinated in the country while the total number of infections have gone up to Three Crores.
It also claims At the moment, India is vaccinating  close to population of Gulf country  Qatar(29,25 Lakh population) per day.
Hopefully from June end, India will vaccinate One Newzeland(50 Lakhs population) per day and One Israel(87.99 Lakhs population) per day by July.
In fact, according to Google, India vaccinated One Canada(3.827 Crores population) in the first half of May and One UK(6.761 Crores population) in the whole of May. Hopefully, India will vaccinate One US(33.10 Crores population) in July.
This is the degree of vaccination undertaken in India. Also, let us not forget, Indian vaccines are the cheapest in the world and India is one of the very few countries in the world to have a vaccine of its own.