Time to relook at India's Covid-19 vaccination strategy: Med
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OMAG
Time to relook at India's Covid-19 vaccination strategy: Medical professionals body
With the second wave of Covid-19 on the wane, India needs strategies to weaken the third wave and have another look at the vaccination drive to increase penetration, says Organized Medicine Academic Guild (OMAG), a federation of professional medical organisations of India.

Herd immunity can be achieved if around 60 per cent people develop immunity against Covid-19, either by getting infected or vaccinated. As on May 27, India has 2,73,76,791 Covid-19 infections — around 2 per cent of the population. However, at least ten times more have possibly been infected, based on sero-surveillance data that showed 20-30 per cent positivity in different pockets of India.

“If we strategise properly, with around 20-22 per cent people already infected, we need another 40 per cent to be vaccinated. The protection offered by the infection or vaccine is less than a year. We need to complete the vaccination of desired numbers within this time frame,” said Dr IS Gilada, Secretary General, OMAG.

“Four and half months are over and we have little over seven months in hand. Therefore, very well-coordinated efforts using several innovating and multi-prong strategies have to be used,” he said, adding that OMAG, which is an umbrella body of 15 professional post-graduate doctors associations, will soon be meeting officials of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Niti Aayog.

According to him, the short supply of vaccines needs to be met by ramping up local production, opening several new manufacturing facilities, licensing more vaccines and importing vaccines from other countries. “USA, Canada and several European countries have over-ordered and have buffer stocks that will be nearing expiry soon. We should procure from them either on a goodwill or loan basis, to be exchanged when we have them,” he said.

Dr Gilada added: “Vaccines should be given only to those who are willing rather than forcing on people who may have their own or manipulated vaccine hesitancy. Let us spend energy at the right places. We have seen political, religious and medical hesitancy and somehow overcoming. But destroying vaccines in dust-bins (as seen in Agra), jumping in rivers to be saved from vaccines and tribals running away from vaccinators needs to be investigated and surveyed to plug the loops.”

“Till we have enough stocks, we should defer vaccination of the 18-44 age group. First we should complete the frontline workers, those above 45, and those with co-morbidities in the 18-44 age group. Admittedly, opening up to this group has fuelled the problems,” the OMAG Secretary General feels.

Source: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/time-to-relook-at-indias-covid-19-vaccination-strategy-medical-professionals-body-990885.html
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