As the second wave of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in India, Janata Dal-Secular supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ‘reiterating’ the suggestions regarding how to handle the current COVID-19 scenario.
"I will support all constructive decisions and initiatives that the Union government may take under your leadership, to contain the pandemic, spread the vaccination programme, and save lives," Gowda said in a letter.
His letter also stated that that "if the government decides to give vaccines free to all citizens, that would be a great humanitarian gesture".
Gowda urged the central government to set deadlines on vaccination drive, focus on districts and taluks and not just cities, and vaccination trials for children within the 12-15 age group, reported news agency ANI.
"The deadlines have to be created for people to get vaccinated as soon as state governments are confident of its vaccine stocks. Elected representatives at all levels have to be given specific targets to ensure vaccination in their respective constituencies."
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
"Pricing of the vaccination should be done keeping in mind the poorest in the land. All barriers of identity proof should be dropped for poor people who come forward to get themselves vaccinated," the letter read.
"We should provide government job to one family member of COVID warriors who have lost their lives. Three months leave with salary for pregnant women working in the government sector should be considered," the formers prime minister stressed.
"All large public gatherings should be banned for the next six months. Steps should be taken immediately to curtail election victory celebrations in states that have gone to polls this month," he added.