New Delhi: Many kinds of misleading are being spread about India’s Covid-19 vaccination program. These misleading are spreading due to erroneous statements, half-truths and openly spoken lies. Dr. Vinod Paul, Member (Health) in the NITI Aayog and Chairman of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Management for Covid-19 (NEGVAC), while dismissing the lies related to all these misleading, the true facts on all these issues Have given
Misleading and true facts are as follows:
Misleading 1: The Center is not making enough efforts to buy vaccines from abroad
Fact: The central government has been in constant contact with all the major international vaccine manufacturers since the mid-2020s. There have been several rounds of conversations with Pfizer, J&J and Moderna. The government has offered them all kinds of assistance to supply and / or manufacture their vaccines in India. However, it is not the case that their vaccines are available for free supply. We need to understand that buying vaccines internationally is not the same as buying ‘off the shelf’ items. Globally vaccines are in limited supply, and companies have their own preferences, plans and compulsions in allocating limited stock.
They also prioritize their countries of origin like our own vaccine manufacturers have done for us without any hesitation. Since Pfizer indicated the availability of the vaccine, the central government and the company have been working together for the earliest import of the vaccine.
As a result of the efforts of the Government of India, the sputum vaccine trials were accelerated and with timely approval, Russia has already done skillful technology transfer by sending two vaccine installments to our companies and now very soon these companies will also manufacture it. Will start We reiterate our request to all international vaccine manufacturers to come to India and make vaccines for India and the world.
Misleading 2: The Center has not approved globally available vaccines
Fact: The central government has simplified the process of obtaining vaccines approved by the US FDA, EMA, UK MHRA and Japan’s PMDA and WHO’s Emergency Use List in India in April itself. These vaccines will not be required to undergo prior bridging tests. The provision has now been further amended to completely eliminate the testing requirement for better tested and tested vaccines manufactured in other countries. No application of any foreign manufacturer is pending with the Controller of Drugs for approval.
Misleading 3: The Center is not making enough efforts to accelerate domestic production of vaccines
Fact: Since the beginning of 2020, the central government has been playing an effective role as an enabler to enable more companies to produce vaccines. There is only 1 Indian company (Bharat Biotech) which has IP. The Government of India has ensured that in addition to India increasing its biotech plants, 3 other companies / plants will start production of covaxine, which has now increased from 1 to 4. The production of covaccine is being increased from 1 crore per month to 10 crore months by October by Bharat Biotech. Additionally, the three PSUs will aim to produce up to 40 million doses by December. With the continued encouragement of the government, the Serum Institute is increasing the covishield production of 6.5 crore doses per month to 11.0 crore doses per month.
The Government of India in partnership with Russia is also ensuring that Sputnik will be built by 6 companies in coordination with Dr. Reddy. The central government is supporting the efforts of Zydus Cadila, BioE as well as Genoa’s own indigenous vaccines with generous funding under the COVID protection scheme, as well as technical assistance in national laboratories. The development of a single dose intranasal vaccine of Bharat Biotech is also progressing well with Government of India funding, and could be a grand achievement for the world.
The production of over 200 crore doses by our vaccine industry by the end of 2021 is the result of similar efforts and continued support and partnership. With regard to these efforts being made in traditional as well as state-of-the-art DNA and mRNA platforms, how many countries can only dream of building with such huge potential. The Government of India and vaccine manufacturers have acted as a Team India in this mission with uninterrupted engagement on a daily basis.
Misleading 4: Center must implement compulsory licensing
Fact: Compulsory licensing is not a very attractive option because it is not a ‘formula’ that matters much, but requires the highest level of active participation, training of human resources, raw material sourcing and bio-safety laboratories . Technology transfer is a key and is under the control of a company that has done research and development.
In fact, we have gone a step ahead of compulsory licensing and are ensuring active participation between Bharat Biotech and 3 other entities to increase production of covaxine. A similar arrangement is being followed for Sputnik. Think about this: Moderna said in October 2020 that she would not sue any of the companies that make her vaccine, but not a single company has done so, suggesting that licensing is the smallest problem. If the vaccine was so easy to make, why would there be such a shortage of vaccine supplements in developed countries?
Misleading 5: The Center has relinquished its responsibility to the states
Fact: The central government is carrying out all kinds of tasks, from funding the vaccine manufacturers to expeditiously approving them to speed up production to bring foreign vaccines to India. The vaccine, purchased by the Center, is fully supplied to the states to be administered free of cost to the people. It is all in the cognizance of the states. The Government of India has only enabled the states to try to procure vaccines themselves, after making explicit requests of their own.
The states were well aware of the production capacity in the country and the difficulties in procuring vaccines directly from abroad. In fact, the Government of India ran the entire vaccine program from January to April and it was much better administered than in May. But the states that did not achieve good coverage towards vaccination of health workers and frontline personnel in these 3 months wanted to open up the vaccination process and decentralize it.
Health is a state subject and the liberalized vaccine policy was the result of frequent requests by states to give them more rights. The fact that their global tenders yielded no results, and it also confirms what we have been telling the states since day one: that there is a small supply of vaccines in the world and that it is easier to buy them in a shorter period of time. Is not.
Misleading 6: The Center is not giving enough vaccines to the states
Fact: The Center is allocating enough vaccines to the states in a transparent manner as per the set guidelines. Actually, the states are also being informed about the availability of the vaccine in advance. Vaccine availability is set to increase in the near future and a much larger supply will be possible. In the non-governmental medium, states are receiving 25% dose and private hospitals are receiving 25% dose. However, the difficulties and problems faced by the states in giving these 25% doses to the people are greatly exaggerated. The behaviour of some of our leaders who, despite full knowledge of the facts on vaccine supply, appear daily on TV and cause panic among the people is very unfortunate. This is not the time to do politics. We all need to be united in this fight.
Misleading 7: The Center is not taking any steps to vaccinate children
Fact: As of now, no country in the world is giving vaccines to children. Also, the WHO has not recommended any vaccination of children. Studies have been done about the safety of vaccines in children, and have been encouraging. Trial on children is going to start soon in India too. However, vaccination of children should not be decided on the basis of the panic being spread in WhatsApp groups and because some politicians want to do politics on it. This decision has to be taken by our scientists only after sufficient data is available on the basis of tests.