Centre calls for vaccinating vulnerable people on priority & not those who ‘want it’, labels next 4 weeks critical in India’s Covid-19 surge
With India recording the highest ever daily Covid-19 cases count, many sections of societies and leaders have urged the government to expand the age limit of people to be vaccinated in the current round. On Tuesday, the Centre said that aim is to vaccinate those “who need it” and not “who want it”. This means still the priority would be to the vulnerable groups.
Dr V K Paul, India’s Covid-19 Task Force head, said that the second wave is spreading more aggressively as compared to the first wave in India. He added that this makes the next 4 weeks even more ‘critical’. Dr. Paul said during a press briefing, “The intensity of the pandemic has increased and it is spreading faster than last time. In some states, it (the condition) is worse than others but the upswing (in cases) can be observed across the country.”
“People’s participation is vital to control the second wave. The next four weeks are going to very critical. The entire country has to come together and make efforts to fight the pandemic,” he added.
India recorded 1,15,249 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, beating Sunday’s record of 1,03,844. This brings India’s total tally to cross 12 million.
After Sunday’s record-breaking tally of new cases, Maharashtra, the worst-hit state, and Delhi had urged the Centre to relax the vaccination age to 25 years. Dr Paul explains that this isn’t a viable or scientifically logical approach due to a finite number of vaccines available, even though India enjoys a rampant production rate, and because as per WHO the current aim is to “reduce death and disease burden”. He added that still, it is not clear when the population would attain herd immunity. So adopting the current strategy of vaccinating all above 45 years must be a priority.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “There are suggestions that vaccination should be opened up for every adult. Whenever we conduct a vaccination during a pandemic, the basic aim is to reduce deaths among the vulnerable population and to protect the healthcare system. The aim is not to vaccinate someone who wants it; the aim is to vaccinate those who require it the most.”
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan reviewed the current Covid-19 situation and vaccination progress in 11 states that have been worst impacted during second wave. He said to state health ministers, “People have adopted lax behavior towards Covid appropriate behaviour… I urge the states to take up mass awareness campaigns to re-instill the importance of these measures.”