Never said whole nation will be inoculated with COVID vaccine: Centre

Says recent adverse event during the Serum Institute trial was unrelated to vaccine and Drug Controller found no reason to halt the trial

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1

The Centre on Tuesday said there was never a talk of administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the entire population and that reaching a critical mass of people to break the chain or transmission would be enough.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said it was important for people to get the right information on sensitive issues and that “never has it been said that the entire country will be inoculated”.

Clarifying the matter further, Secretary, Health Research, Balram Bhargava said the purpose of COVID vaccine drive would be to break the chain of viral transmission.

“The purpose is to break the chain of transmission of the virus. We may not have to vaccinate all the people if we can break the chain of transmission by inoculating a critical mass of people,” Bhargava said, as India’s active cases continued to remain below five lakh and the cumulative recoveries through November exceeded cumulative new cases.

The government also doused all doubts raised recently in a section of the media about an adverse event reported in the ongoing COVID vaccine trials of the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech.

“Due processes under the clinical trials institutional framework were followed in both the cases and no reason was found by the Drug Controller to halt the trial,” said Bhushan, adding that countering disinformation around vaccine was not just the responsibility of the government but also of the vaccine makers and the media.

The Centre is working on a guidance document on COVID vaccine rollout where it would devote an entire chapter to communication around the vaccine.

Polio vaccine drive was for long years hampered by myths.

Bhargava said the alleged adverse event during the Serum Institute trial was probed by the Drug Control and no causal relation was ascertained between the vaccine and the event.

“Preliminary studies found no reason to halt the trial,” he said.

Both Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech vaccine trials have entered third phase after drug controller’s approval and due process.

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