Allowing Vaccination for Multiple Age Groups has Created Scarcity: Says SII Executive Director

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The COVID 2.0 pandemic has been far more devastating than the first, wreaking havoc in India despite the ongoing vaccination drive. To learn the lesson from COVID 2.0, HEAL Health organised an e-Summit – the 17th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad series to discuss the vaccine conundrum amidst COVID 2.0, demystifying the reasons behind COVID 2.0 and about the predicted gruesome COVID 3.0 in association with HEAL Foundation and knowledge partner Brand Wagon Club.

Speaking in COVID 2.0: Lesson to learn from – e-Summit, the 17th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Dr Suresh Jadhav, Executive Director, Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, Pune said, “Initially, 300 million people targeted for vaccination for which 600 million dosages of vaccines were required, but before we reached the target, additional age groups were added starting from 45 years onwards followed by 18 years onwards. We should have followed the WHO guidelines and prioritised the vaccination accordingly to avoid scarcity. Still, 50% of paramedical staff haven’t been vaccinated.”

Adding further, Dr Jadhav said, “Vaccination is essential. But even after vaccination, you are susceptible. Therefore, be cautious and follow the COVID preventive guidelines. Although the double mutant of Indian variants are neutralised, yet variants can create problems in vaccination. As far as the selection of vaccine is concerned, as per CDC and NIH data, whatever vaccine is available can be taken provided it is licensed by the regulatory body. And it is too early to say which vaccine is efficacious and which is not.”

Elaborating on the impact of COVID vaccination during COVID 2.0: Lesson to learn from – e-Summit, the 17th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Dr Sanjay Kumar Rai, Professor, Dept. of Community Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi, President, IPHA said, “The COVID 3.0 won’t be as severe as predicted. The COVID inappropriate behaviour has been contributing to increasing the number of cases.”

On being asked about Happy Hypoxia, he said, “Happy hypoxia is a condition where blood oxygen levels are low but the patient continues with their daily activities without being aware of it. And non-regular monitoring of oxygen saturation levels could result in organs shutting down and the condition can become life-threatening, and this is what is happening with COVID infected people.”

Deliberating during COVID 2.0: Lesson to learn from – e-Summit, the 17th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Dr Amitav Banerjee, HoD, Community Medicine, Dr DY Patil Medical College & Hospital, Pune, said, “Lockdown is not the permanent solution to curb the surge of COVID cases because despite the lockdown last year, the rate of infection was not sieged. And we see a more deadly COVID 2.0 wave. The COVID 2.0 wave is more deadly and the number of cases has increased to four times. In this wave, the younger population have gone vulnerable compared to the first wave, reaching rural India this time – this is because even 50% of the young population of rural areas having comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension are unaware of it. The bottom line to combat such a pandemic is to take care of general health.”

Speaking on the communication failure during COVID 2.0: Lesson to learn from – e-Summit, the 17th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Prof KG Suresh, Vice-Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism & Communication, Bhopal said, “The communication ecosystem broke down completely during the pandemic. Awareness is going to be the social vaccine because people lack awareness, which is contributing to the severity of the cases. There has been communication failure at almost every level whether it is the part of the govt., the medical fraternity, NGOs or the media. Owing to misinformation and disinformation, people have failed to follow appropriate COVID behaviour. Actually, the misinformation and disinformation during the pandemic have created an infodemic – which is very bad. I have come across many people who have the wrong perception about vaccination and many of them are not visiting hospitals on time thereby increasing the severity of the disease. We need to have a robust communication ecosystem in place to curb the infodemic, which will be quite helpful in combating the ongoing as well as the upcoming pandemic.”

While moderating COVID 2.0: Lesson to learn from – e-Summit, the 17th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder, HEAL Health Group said, “We have been passing through a tough time now because the wave of COVID 2.0 was not anticipated as deadly as it has unfolded. Amid the vaccination drive, the rage of infection went on to surge, making the people confused whether the vaccines are efficacious or not. So many people went on for self-medication in dearth of the availability of doctors. This time, many of the infected died because of the lack of oxygen. The oxygen crisis has also been unprecedented. Therefore, to combat the COVID 3.0, we need to follow the COVID preventive measures stringently and get vaccinated compulsorily.”

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