Chairman of the Centre's Covid working group, Dr NK Arora, on Monday reacted to senior advocate Prashant Bhushan’s statements questioning the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines.
Prashant Bhushan's statements do no good at a time when the government is working hard to debunk misinformation and address vaccine hesitancy, said Dr NK Arora.
In a series of tweets on Monday, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan questioned the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in India.
Prashant Bhushan claimed: “The healthy young have hardly any chance of serious effects or dying due to Covid. They have a higher chance of dying due to vaccines. The Covid recovered have much better natural immunity, than the vaccine gives them. Vaccines may even compromise their acquired natural immunity.”
The healthy young have hardly any chance of serious effects or dying due to covid. They have a higher chance of dying due to vaccines. The covid recovered have much better natural immunity, than the vaccine gives them. Vaccines may even compromise their acquired natural immunity.
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) June 28, 2021
“For the record, I have not taken, nor do I intend to take any Covid Vaccine," Prashant Bhushan went on to say.
The senior advocate even claimed, "No one from govt has come to visit us or order an enquiry into my wife's death. I still curse myself for persuading my wife to take the vaccine.I thought it would save us from the virus, but it killed her. The govt is not monitoring adverse events from vaccine nor releasing data.”
Reacting to Prashant Bhushan’s tweets, Dr NK Arora said that the central government has a national system in place to track instances of adverse event post immunization (AEFI). This system is operational in over 700 districts across the country, added Dr Arora.
It was the government that put information about the first death post-Covid vaccination in the public domain, Dr NK Arora said. He added that all adverse events are probed in a systematic manner as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) algorithm.
ON VACCINE SAFETY
Dr Arora reiterated that Covid-19 vaccines are safe. Over 32 crore people have received the jab so far as part of India’s nationwide vaccination drive, he said.
Referring to side effects following vaccination, Dr NK Arora said some people might experience pain or fever during the first one or two days after getting the jab, but it is nothing to worry about.
Dr Arora also encouraged people to embrace vaccination. He said, "One of the highlights of the vaccines is that with changing variants, these vaccines are highly protective against ICU [hospitalisation] and death.”
He further stated that the risk of death from Covid is low among the younger population.
ON VACCINE FOR CHILDREN
Centre informed the Supreme Court on Saturday that Zydus Cadila, which is developing a DNA vaccine, has concluded its clinical trials for the 12 to 18 age group. Zydus' vaccine may soon be available, subject to necessary permissions, said the government in an affidavit.
Asked about the Zydus Cadila vaccine, Dr NK Arora said, "Zydus Cadila have completed their trials which had 28,000 volunteers, they are working on assessing the vaccine in 12-18 year olds. This will be done in six weeks.These are the children who need to go to school five years onwards."
ON CENTRE’S VACCINATION TARGET
The central government has set up a target of vaccinating all adults in the country by December end.
Dr NK Arora said the country's target is to administer 1 crore vaccine doses each day over the next six to eight months.