Home Covid News and Updates COVID Vaccine hesitancy worldwide phenomenon, bat for educating people, said experts

COVID Vaccine hesitancy worldwide phenomenon, bat for educating people, said experts

by Pragati Singh

Vaccine apprehension is a global problem, scientists said on Friday, and people’s fears must be allayed by telling them that immunizations are extremely protective.

Speaking at Asia Economic Dialogue, a geo-economic conference organised by Pune International Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs on ‘India’s Contribution in Reducing Global Vaccine Inequity,’ these experts called for increased government engagement with vaccine manufacturers as well as civil society involvement in educating communities about the importance of vaccination.

While Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, former head of Epidemiology, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) chaired the discussion, participants included Dr Stanley Plotkin, Emeritus Professor at University of Pennsylvania and Adjunct Professor, John Hopkins University, Dr Umesh Shaligram, Director (R&D), Serum Institute of India, Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech International Ltd. and eminent virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang.

Lauding India’s position as the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer as well as a major supplier of doses to the world, Dr Plotkin said research of 20-odd years helped develop vaccines against COVID-19 in a short period of time.

“Indian vaccine producers reacted rapidly to the need to develop and make available the vaccine but what is noteworthy is that the regulatory authorities demonstrated the capability to process huge amount of data and give the necessary clearances,” said Dr Plotkin.

Dr Kang said there was a need to reduce the gap between variant-specific vaccines and a variant proof vaccine that will be broadly protective. She said vaccination is as important as developing vaccines and, in addition to government efforts, involving civil society in the drive can fetch greater results.

“The pandemic has led to a greater trust of government in vaccine manufacturers and it is now open to working with manufacturers.

India should create a strong network for clinical trials, which can be used for fast recruitment of patients for trials in a short time,” Dr Kang said. Dr Shaligram of Serum Institute said the vaccine supplied by them was very cost-effective and saved millions of lives, adding it was receiving approvals for its vaccine from more countries.

“We are now engaged in adopting new technologies in a short time,” he said.

Dr Ella of Bharat Biotech said nature has been giving signals about possible threats in future and all should be prepared to work on five or six predictable diseases so that vaccines to treat them can be produced in a very short time.

“India took lead in creating huge capacities for producing COVID-19 vaccine but has to think about how these capacities will be utilized once the pandemic’s pressure reduces,” he said.

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