As the state gears up for the vaccination, the awareness on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine against COVID-19 will soon start in the state.
“We have already activated through the district administration for spreading awareness on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” Director of Health Services (MI) Dr. Aman War told reporters at a live press conference held on Saturday.
He informed over 35,000 frontline workers have been identified to be vaccinated in the first phase. According to him, all health workers and frontline workers are ensured to the tune of Rs 50 lakhs.
Asked, Dr War said any new vaccine or medicine which comes in the market, there is always a possibility of a side effect.
“However, the purpose of the vaccine is to protect and we believe in that protection rather than the complication of the vaccine,” he said.
Whether people including frontline workers have the option to say no to vaccination, the senior medical officer said, “When people see the beneficial effect of the vaccine naturally they will be convinced and voluntarily they will come forward.”
On the other hand, a Pulmonologist from NEIGRIHMS, Dr. Vijay Nongpiur said a vaccine is not a cure but it would only help to prevent further spread of the disease.
He informed that currently there are only four vaccines that have crossed the phase-III trial where it has been done on human subjects.
“Though the development of a vaccine actually takes three-four years, but there has been a tremendous effort from all researchers around the world to come up with four different types of vaccines within a period of 10 months (since the outbreak of the COVID-19),” he said.
Dr. Nongpiur said with regards to the efficacy, almost all the vaccines show a similar level of efficacy of almost 94-95 percent.
“However since we are only ten months into the disease, we don’t have any long term data to have a robust kind of a data…When we look at the efficacy that means after the second dose, you have 94-95 percent chance if you were to get covid 19 it will not manifest any symptoms or signs – as that is how we measured the efficacy of these vaccines in the sense that we’ve looked at how much antibodies these vaccines are generating and compared them with those patients who already recovered from Covid 19. So we are saying that 95 percent of the vaccines are able to induce the body to produce a fairly amount of protective antibodies – that is the efficacy of the vaccines we are talking about,” he said.
Dr Nongpiur, however, reiterated that the vaccine is not a cure because as of now there is no cure and there is no definite anti-Covid medication, drug, or vaccine.
Meanwhile, the panel of doctors at the news conference emphasized the need for people to follow strict protocols of wearing masks, hand sanitization, and maintaining physical distancing at all times to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“If we don’t follow protocols laid down by the government, we may expect a second wave,” they said.
Dr. War also appealed to the people to avoid the three Cs – crowded places, closed spaces, and close contact – during the festive season.