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At World Health Assembly, India reiterates disappointment over WHO report on excess COVID-19 mortality

The seven-day event in Geneva is the first health assembly being held in-person since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic

May 23, 2022 / 09:53 PM IST
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya (Source: Reuters)

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya (Source: Reuters)

Speaking at the World Health Assembly on May 23, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reiterated India’s disappointment over the World Health Organisation (WHO) report estimating excess COVID-19 mortality.

India’s health minister said at the 75th World Health Assembly convened by 194 member states that “India would like to express its disappointment over the manner in which the report by WHO on all-cause excess mortality was prepared and published, ignoring the concern expressed by India and other countries.”

He added that India did not agree with the WHO methodology and sources of data that set aside the “country-specific authentic data from the statutory authority of India”.

Mandaviya further informed that the Central Council of Health & Family Welfare -- a constitutional body having a representation of health ministers from all states within India – has passed a unanimous resolution asking him to convey their collective disappointment and concern in this regard.

He then went on to speak about how Prime Minister Narendra Modi “has highlighted the need for building a resilient global supply chain to enable equitable access to vaccines and medicines, streamlining WHO’s approval process for vaccines, therapeutics, reforms, and strengthening WHO to build a more resilient global health secure architecture.”

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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 Union health minister added: “As a responsible member, India is ready to play a key role in these efforts.”

Several world leaders and health chiefs are currently in Geneva, Switzerland to attend the World Health Assembly that is being held this year under the theme ‘Health for Peace, Peace for Health’.

The seven-day event that will end on May 28 is the first health assembly being held in-person since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

(With ANI inputs)
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