The government has decided to reserve five MBBS seats under the central pool for wards of COVID-19 warriors for the academic year 2020-2021.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the move aims to dignify and honour the noble contribution made by COVID-19 warriors who have lost their lives due to the infection or died accidently on account of COVID-19-related duty.
The Union Health Ministry has introduced a new category, 'Wards of COVID Warriors', in the guidelines for selection and nomination of candidates against central pool MBBS seats.
The selection will be made by the Medical Council Committee (MCC) through online application on the basis of rank obtained in the NEET-2020 conducted by National Testing Agency.
Vardhan said, "This will honour the solemn sacrifice of all COVID warriors who served with selfless dedication for the cause of duty and humanity.”
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.
Noting that the definition of "COVID warrior" has been laid down by the government while announcing the insurance package of Rs 50 lakh for them, the minister said, "COVID Warriors are all public healthcare providers including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this."
"Private hospital staff and retired/volunteer/ local urban bodies/ contracted/ daily wage/ ad-hoc/ outsourced staff requisitioned by states/central hospitals/ autonomous hospitals of central/ states/UTs, AIIMS and Institutes of National Importance (INIs)/ hospitals of central ministries drafted for COVID-19-related responsibilities are all included,” he added.
The state and union territory (UT) government will certify the eligibility for this category.