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Opinion

The government never spoke about vaccinating the entire country, says the health ministry

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The government said Tuesday that it has not talked about vaccinating the entire population of the country against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), as India has reported 9,462,809 infections and 137,621 related deaths so far.

“I just want to make this clear that the government has never talked about vaccinating the entire country. It is important that we discuss these scientific issues, based only on factual information, ”said Rajesh Bhushan, secretary of the Union Ministry of Health.

Bhushan also said that the average daily positivity rate in India has been 3.72 percent and with 211 cases per million, India has the lowest count of cases per million “among all major nations.” While data from the past seven days indicates that cases are increasing in European nations, the cumulative positivity rate has decreased in India, he noted. The cumulative positivity rate fell from 7.15% to 6.69% between November 11 and December 1. The number of recoveries had surpassed the number of new Covid-19 infections in India in November, Bhushan added.

When asked about the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine accusations, the health secretary said that vaccination timelines in India will not be affected in any way by adverse events. Recently, a Chennai volunteer had delivered a legal notice to IBS stating ‘sudden collapse of medical condition’ after vaccination, which IBS has denied, saying that Covishield is “safe and immunogenic.” Both parties have already provided legal notices on the matter.

Bhushan said that all subjects sign a consent form prior to the trials that details all possible adverse effects of the vaccine inoculation. The government has also appointed an Institutional Ethics Committee that functions independently of the government and the vaccine manufacturer. This is done to ensure the safety of the vaccines, as trials are conducted at multiple sites and locations.

The health secretary noted that the ethics committee will submit a report to the central authority, which is the Comptroller General of Drugs of India (DCGI) in case of any adverse event.

He also said that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) monitors clinical trials “day by day” and reports all adverse events. The DCGI then looks at the reports and then determines if there is any “one-to-one correlation” between the vaccine and the adverse event, he added.

Hindustan Times

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