Govt never spoke about vaccinating the entire country, says health ministry

Govt never spoke about vaccinating the entire country, says health ministry

A day after it announced a mission for speedy approval to a Covid-19 vaccine, the central government Tuesday clarified it is not looking at vaccinating all citizens, but rather at achieving a “critical mass” that would ensure that the chain of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is broken.

It also clarified that in case of both the adverse events — during the phase 1 trial of Covaxin (developed by Bharat Biotech) and phase 2 trial of Covisheld (manufactured by Serum Institute of India) — all checks and balances were applied before allowing the trials to continue.

“The government never spoke about vaccinating the entire country. It is very important to get the factual information on these things,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, while replying to a question on whether the Covid vaccine will be available free of cost.

Secretary, Health Research, and ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava clarified: “We may or may not need to vaccinate all. If we can reach a critical mass before doing so, then it is not required. That is why measures like masks etc. will need to continue.”

A critical mass refers to a point when there are enough people in the population, who have received the vaccine for the chain of transmission to be broken. This is called herd immunity.

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