V K Paul, who is also the chief of an expert coordinating efforts to tackle the pandemic in the country, in an interview to PTI said that once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, there will be enough resources to deliver as well as make it accessible to the citizens.
The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths have declined in the last three weeks as the spread of the pandemic has stabilised in most of the states, Niti Aayog Member V K Paul said on Sunday but did not rule out the possibility of a second wave of infections in the winter season.
Paul, who is also the chief of an expert coordinating efforts to tackle the pandemic in the country, in an interview to PTI said that once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, there will be enough resources to deliver as well as make it accessible to the citizens.
"In India, the new coronavirus cases and number of deaths have declined in the last three weeks and the pandemic has stabilised in most of the states
"However, there are five states (Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal) and 3-4 Union Territories (UTs), where there is still a rising trend," Paul said.
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.
He is heading the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).
According to him, India is in a somewhat better position now but the country still has a long way to go because 90 per cent of the people are still susceptible to coronavirus infections.
On whether India could see a second wave of coronavirus infections in the winter, Paul said that with the onset of winter, countries across Europe are seeing resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
"We cannot rule out (a second coronavirus wave this winter in India). Things can happen and we are still learning about the virus," Paul noted.
To a query about storage and distribution of vaccine once it is available, he said India has enough cold storage facilities to an extent and this can be readily augmented as required.
"Once the vaccine is available, there will be enough resources for delivering vaccines and making vaccines accessible to the citizens and there will be no concern about resources under those circumstances," Paul said.The coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,14,031, the health ministry''s data updated at 8 am showed. The number of active cases of coronavirus infection remained below eight lakh for the second consecutive day.