The government of India has called an all-party meeting of floor leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on December 4 to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the country, according to reports.
The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and it will be held virtually at 10:30 am, according to reports. Apart from the prime minister, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will also be present during the meeting.
The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry is coordinating the meeting and has reached out to floor leaders of all parties, sources told news agency PTI.
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.
This will be the second all-party meeting called by the government to discuss the COVID-19 situation since the outbreak of the pandemic. The first one was held in April, weeks after PM Modi announced a national lockdown owing to the spread of the disease.
The meeting is being held at a time when it is being contemplated to merge the winter session of parliament with the budget session in wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the national capital.The meeting also assumes significance as it is being held after Modi's visit to pharmaceutical companies in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review coronavirus vaccine development work there.