‘Never Said We Will Vaccinate the Entire Country’: Health Ministry

The health ministry also said that the adverse event at the trial will not affect the Oxford vaccine’s timeline.

Updated
India
2 min read
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“I just want to make this clear, that the government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country. It's important that we discuss such scientific issues, based on factual information only,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on, Tuesday, 1 December, on being asked how much time it will take to vaccinate the entire country, reported news agency ANI.

Further, in a press briefing on Tuesday, Bhushan said that the adverse event at the trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca will not affect the timeline of the vaccine in any manner.
He was answering a question on the adverse event in the trials of the Serum Institute of India (SII). SII has partnered with UK’s AstraZeneca and Oxford University to produce the vaccines in India.

‘Volunteers Are Informed of the Ill-Effects’

He said that volunteers are expected to sign a consent form, which informs the subject about the possible adverse events during clinical trials. "Whenever clinical trial starts, subjects are expected to sign a prior informed consent form. This is global practice; it happens across all countries. The form tells the subject about possible adverse events that may happen in case one decides to participate in the trial," he said.

On 29 November, a volunteer in the Covishield vaccine trial in Chennai alleged that he had suffered serious side effects, including a “virtual neurological breakdown and impairment of cognitive functions.” He sent a legal notice demanding Rs 5 crore as compensation, while also asking for the trials to be halted. Dismissing the participant’s claim as “malicious and misconceived”, the institute has pressed for Rs 100 crore as damages.

“Clinical trials are multi-centric and multi-site. Each site has an Institutional Ethics Committee, which is independent of manufacturer or government. In case of any adverse event, this Committee takes note and gives its report to Drug Controller General of India,”
Rajesh Bhushan, health secretary.

‘We May not Have to Vaccinate Entire Population’

“I just want to make this clear that the government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country. It's important that we discuss such scientific issues, based on factual information only,” said Health Secretary on being asked how much time it will take to vaccinate the entire country, reported news agency ANI.

He added that the vaccination would depend on the efficacy of the vaccine and the 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,” Bhargava added.

‘India has the Lowest per Million Cases’

India has the lowest per million cases of coronavirus in the world and the average daily positivity rate stood at 3.72 last week, the Ministry of Health, Family and Welfare (MoHFW) said.

"Average daily positivity rate last week was 3.72 percent. Among all the big nations in the world, cases per million in India are the lowest. Last 7 days trends show that European nations are witnessing a surge in COVID19 cases," Rajesh Bhushan said.

"Cumulative positivity rate has decreased in India from 7.15% to 6.69% during Nov 11-Dec 1 period. In November 2020, the number of recoveries has been more than the number of new COVID19 cases," Bhushan added.

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