'Govt expanded COVID-19 vaccinations without considering available stocks, WHO guidelines': SII Executive Director
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the shortage of COVID-19 vaccine in India where several states have halted the inoculation drive either for the 18-44 age group or for the 45 and above age group, the executive director of the Serum Institute of India (SII), Suresh Jadhav, on Friday alleged that the Centre expanded the vaccination drive for multiple age groups without taking the available stock into account and not following WHO guidelines.
Speaking at an e-summit organised by Heal Health, health advocacy and awareness platform, Jadhav said the country should have followed the WHO guidelines and prioritised vaccination accordingly.
"Initially, 300 million people were to be administered the vaccine for which 600 million doses were required. But before we reached the target, the government opened vaccination for all above 45 years followed by those aged 18 and above despite knowing well that so much vaccine is not available", Jadhav said, as quoted by news agency PTI.
“That is the greatest lesson we learnt. We must take into account the availability of the product and then use it judiciously", he added while stressing that "vaccination is essential but even after getting jabbed, people are susceptible to the infection.
“Therefore, be cautious and follow COVID preventive guidelines. Although the double mutant of Indian variants are neutralised, yet variants can create problems in vaccination," he said.
“As far as the selection of vaccine is concerned, as per CDC and NIH data, whatever vaccine is available can be taken provided it is licensed by the regulatory body. And it is too early to say which vaccine is efficacious and which is not", Jadhav added.
Meanwhile, in yet another achievement, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday informed that the nationwide cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 19.32 crores. The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country stands at 19,32,97,222 as per the 8 pm provisional report.
As of Day-126 of the vaccination drive (May 21, 2021), a total of 13,83,358 vaccine doses were given out of which 12,05,727 beneficiaries were vaccinated for the first dose and 1,77,631 beneficiaries received a second dose of vaccine as per the provisional report till 8 P.M. Final reports would be completed for the day by late tonight.
(With PTI Inputs)
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan