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Never said everyone will be administered the Covid shot: Centre

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NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday said it never spoke about vaccinating the entire country against Covid19, adding there may not even be the need to vaccinate everyone. On the allegation of the ‘adverse event’ reported in the human trial of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, being produced by the Serum Institute of India, the government said it will not affect vaccine timelines.

At the health ministry briefing, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said the purpose of the Covid vaccine drive would be to break the chain of viral transmission. “If we are able to vaccinate a critical mass of people and break the chain of transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population,” Bhargava explained. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there was never a talk about inoculating the whole population with Covid-19 vaccine.

“I just want to make this clear that the government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country. It’s important that we discuss such scientific issues, based on factual information only and then analyse it,” Bhushan said. The ICMR chief reiterated the importance of masks in fighting the pandemic.

He said, “The role of masks is also important and that will continue even after vaccination. Because we are starting with a small group of population at a time, masks will continue to be used to help in breaking the chain of viral transmission.”

‘Adverse event’ reported during trial not to impact vaccine timeline: Govt

Officials ruled out the possibility of halting the trial of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in wake of an “adverse event” allegedly suffered by an by a trial participant in Chennai. A 40-year-old man who was a volunteer in the third phase of the ‘Covidshield’ vaccine trial in Chennai has alleged serious side-effects, including neurological breakdown and impairment of cognitive functions.

He has sought `5 crore compensation in a legal notice sent to Serum Institute and others, besides seeking a halt to the trial. However, the SII on Sunday rejected the charges as “malicious and misconceived”. Bhargava said adverse events occur with drugs or vaccines or any other health intervention. He explained, “If any adverse event warrants hospitalisation, then it is called a serious adverse event.

It is the role of the drug regulator, after collating all the data, to ascertain or refute whether there is a causal link between the event and intervention.” He said whenever in course of a trial any adverse event happens, the Drugs Controller General of India investigates if there is a relation between the vaccine and the adverse event.

Meanwhile, the health ministry asked states and UTs to form expert groups to determine Covid-19 test rates after studying the market. Bhushan said deciding the rates of the tests doesn’t come under the purview of the Centre.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

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