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Health minister Harsh Vardhan assures people on safety, efficacy of COVID vaccines

Vardhan reminded everyone of the achievements of India, the second-most populous country in the world, which is seeing a steady decline in the number of active coronavirus cases.

January 21, 2021 / 04:10 PM IST
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (File photo)

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (File photo)

Vaccination against COVID-19 will lead to people not transmitting the disease and its eradication in some time, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday as he unveiled IEC posters to address the emerging issue of vaccine hesitancy in some sections of the population.

Commenting on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, he said, "The paradox is that countries across the globe are asking us for access to the vaccines, while a section of our own is fomenting misinformation and doubt for narrow political ends.”

More than eight lakh healthcare workers were vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country till 7 am on Thursday, according to the health ministry.

Vardhan reminded everyone of the achievements of India, the second-most populous country in the world, which is seeing a steady decline in the number of active coronavirus cases.

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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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"The elimination of polio and small pox was made possible by large-scale immunisation. Once immunised, not only that person is not capable of catching the disease, he or she is also unable to transmit the disease to others, thus passing on the social benefit to the larger society he or she interacts with. This was also the logic of undertaking mass immunisation of women and children against 12 diseases under Mission Indradhanush."

"The vaccination against COVID will similarly create persons incapable of transmitting the disease and eradicate the disease altogether in some time,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the health ministry.

”The vaccination against COVID will similarly create persons incapable of transmitting the disease and eradicate the disease altogether in some time,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the health ministry.

The minister urged everyone to counter the "vested campaigns of untruth and misinformation”.

”Let us put a stop to these falsehoods,” he said.

Vardhan appealed to people to seek correct information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines from credible and authentic sources such as the health ministry, the information and broadcasting ministry, the Press Information Bureau (PIB), the MyGov website etc., according to the statement.

He reiterated that "truth is powerful and shall prevail" and encouraged everyone to share the IEC posters to multiply the virtuous cycle of truth.

Commenting on the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines, the health minister said, "All eminent doctors of well-known hospitals have taken the vaccines and praised the exercise for its desired end. It is only a handful of vested political interests who are interested in spreading rumour and encouraging vaccine hesitancy among those vulnerable to such propaganda in the population."

"The paradox is that countries across the globe are asking us for access to the vaccines, while a section of our own is fomenting misinformation and doubt for narrow political ends.”

He said eminent doctors, along with many other healthcare workers within the government as well as the private sector, have taken the vaccines and returned to work without any side-effects.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI
first published: Jan 21, 2021 04:09 pm

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