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Beware of propaganda against COVID-19 vaccination: PM Narendra Modi

While launching India’s COVID-19 vaccination exercise, PM Narendra Modi also urged citizens to continue to wear masks and follow other safety protocols.

January 16, 2021 / 11:23 AM IST
File image: PM Narendra Modi

File image: PM Narendra Modi

Launching India’s massive COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the people to be aware of propaganda and rumours about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for public use in India.

“Our Indian scientists and experts have guaranteed the safety of the vaccine, so the people of the country must not listen to any kind of propaganda and rumours surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine,” PM Modi said.

Some experts and politicians had questioned efficacy of one of the vaccines that was granted restricted emergency use authorisation in India.

The prime minister also urged citizens to continue to wear masks and follow other safety protocols. "I request you not to make the mistake of taking off the mask and not maintaining social distancing after getting the first dose because immunity develops after the second dose," PM Modi said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Addressing the event via video conference, PM Modi said that the unprecedented vaccination exercise will help decisively end the coronavirus pandemic.

“Such a vaccination drive, at such a massive scale, was never conducted in history. There are over 100 countries having less than three crore population and India is administering vaccination to three crore people in first phase itself. In second phase, we have to take this number to 30 crore,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister reiterated that those facing the highest risk from the deadly disease, caused by the novel coronavirus, will be vaccinated on priority. “Our doctors, nurses, medical staff and frontline workers, among others, have a right to be vaccinated first,” PM Modi said.

PM Modi also said that those getting vaccinated should make sure that they get the second dose – that is to be taken after a gap of around one month.

Read: COVID-19 vaccination drive | How to register, who will get the shots first and other queries answered

A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and Union Territories were virtually connected during the event. Authorities had planned vaccinating around 100 beneficiaries at each session site on the inaugural day.

Priority is being given to healthcare and frontline workers, who had already been registered on the purpose-built CoWIN application. This would be sequentially followed by people with comorbidities, senior citizens and finally, the general public. The Centre is hoping to vaccinate 30 crore people by July, in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved two vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – for restricted emergency use. Beneficiaries will not be able to choose between the two jabs.

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: All you need to know about manufacturing and pricing

As of January 16, India had reported more than 1.05 crore confirmed COVID-19 cases. The death toll from the outbreak in the country stood at over 1.52 lakh. While more than 1.01 crore patients had recovered, 2.11 lakh cases remained ‘active’. Globally, more than 9.32 crore individuals have been infected by the virus and over 20 lakh people have died so far.

A speedy rollout of vaccines is being seen as the best way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and restore normalcy in the pandemic-battered global economy. More than 50 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already vaccinated a large number of people from high-risk groups.

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first published: Jan 16, 2021 11:23 am
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