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COVID-19 vaccine should be offered free of cost to everyone, says Narayana Murthy

Several state governments in India, including Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, have promised to provide free vaccine to people when it becomes available.

November 18, 2020 / 04:05 PM IST
 
 
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Amid positive news regarding COVID-19 vaccine development from companies such as Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy has said that a shot, when it becomes available, should be provided free of cost to all.

"I believe (Covid-19 vaccine) should be a public good and everybody should be vaccinated free. These vaccines should be free for the entire population on the planet," Murthy told The Economic Times in an interview. 

Also Read | Storage of Pfizer's COVID vaccine challenge for most nations; India examining possibilities: Govt

"All vaccine-producing companies should be compensated by the UN or the individual countries for their cost and not for huge profits," Murthy added.

Several state governments in India, including Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, have promised to provide free vaccine to its people when it becomes available.

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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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Speaking about Work From Home (WFH), which has been the norm since the outbreak of the pandemic and the virus-induced lockdown across the world, Murthy said that he feels it is only a temporary measure to reduce the spread of the disease.

"Let us remember most houses in our country are small and getting a secluded place at home where you can focus on work is difficult," ET quoted him as saying. Murthy added that schools cannot be shut down and he supports the re-opening of schools.

Also Read | COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: Here's a status update on leading coronavirus vaccines that are ahead of the pack

"We have to take all precautions—PPEs (personal protective equipment), social distancing, masks everything we have to. However, we cannot close our schools," Murthy said, adding also that while India is facing challenges on economic front, several sectors are showing signs of recovery.

"... We need the Keynesian method at this point of time—it doesn’t have to be only the government, it could be in other ways too," Murthy said.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Nov 18, 2020 04:05 pm

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