Niti Aayog member and head of COVID-19 task force Dr VK Paul, said that the data for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin looks promising and could soon be approved by World Health Organisation for emergency use listing (EUL). EUL approval will enable the vaccine to be used during public health emergencies such as a pandemic. He said that approval for Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine is likely to come by month-end.
VK Paul said that as vaccination progresses, vaccine hesitancy is considerably declining. In fact, there’s ‘vaccine eagerness’, he said. The issue now is to ensure that vaccine reaches everyone. He added that India is well on its way to achieve complete vaccination of entire population by the end of the year. Dr Paul also said that gender parity in vaccination also needs to be addressed.
Talking about vaccine boosters, Dr Paul said that there is little data available on boosters now and that Covaxin is conducting a study to ensure the need for the same. “The WHO has also not said anything on the need for it and right now our focus should be on vaccinating everyone with two doses,” he added.
COVID-19 THIRD WAVE
Commenting on the much-discussed issue of the impending third wave, Dr Paul said that it is difficult to predict a timeline. He added that past trends show a surge in cases after the festive season. “Even earlier it was seen that cases increased after parties, get-togethers during the festive season, the virus loves parties. We have to squeeze it,” he said.
VK Paul said that while mathematical calculations show that there is the possibility of a third wave, there has been no mutation of the Delta variant to contribute to the third wave.
He said that the government has been preparing for health infrastructure for children, including paediatric ICUs. “Children need to be around adults who are vaccinated and that is the best antidote,” he further stated.