No room for vaccination hesitancy as it’s key to fight COVID-19: Prof. Padmanabhan

The bulk of the Indian population should go for vaccination as it is essential to fight the battle against coronavirus

New Delhi: When the most awaited COVID-19 vaccines are in place, the vaccine hesitancy continues to permeate through the Indian population. To inculcate awareness amongst the masses to go for vaccination and to discuss different facets of vaccination, HEAL Health organized India for Vaccination e-Summit, the Episode-15 of HEAL-Thy Samvaad in association with ICCIDD and knowledge partner HEAL Foundation.
In his keynote address, Padma Bhushan, Prof. G Padmanaban, Former Director, IISc, President NASI, and Senior Science Innovation Adviser, BIRAC, Department of Biotechnology, GoI stressed on the importance of vaccines. “The RNA  vaccine is superior to the DNA Vaccine because mRNA goes into the cell, and the cell translates it into proteins, which are the ones that the organism sees and induces the immune response. Comparatively, in a DNA vaccine, the virus’s genetic information is transmitted to another molecule that is called the messenger RNA (mRNA),” said Prof Padmanabhan while adding “There shouldn’t be any vaccination hesitancy. The bulk of the Indian population should go for vaccination as it is essential to fight the battle against coronavirus,”
Elaborating on who all should be vaccinated and who need not, Dr Prof. Sanjay Rai, Professor, Dept. of Community Medicine, AIIMS, President, IPHA said, “No need to vaccinate the people who have documented COVID-19 infection because they have developed natural immunity. Use the vaccines judiciously as they are precious. It is scientifically proven that natural immunity supports. As per Sero Surveillance, 25% population are infected, and in major metro cities like Delhi, 50% are infected including 60% of children. As per Indian data, we don’t believe that the second or the third wave of COVID strain will take place.”
Speaking on the judicious use of vaccines, Dr (Prof) Amitav Banerjee, Professor & Head of Community Medicine, Dr DY Patil Medical College, Pune, said, “Vaccines is strong artillery, so, it should be deployed strategically in the war against the pandemic. We need to use the vaccines judiciously. It is not required for everyone. We have certain advantages over other countries, which will help us plan our strategy against COVID-19 efficiently. We have a higher percentage of young population compared to western countries, which is much less susceptible to COVID-19. Given the present plummeting trends of COVID-19 cases in our country, we can afford to wait and watch rather than going for indiscriminate mass vaccination.”
Speaking on the significance and the utility of vaccines, Dr Karthik Anantharaman, Cluster Head, South India, Roche Pharma, said, “There is an analogy about COVID vaccines compared to the seat belt. The COVID vaccine is just like a seat belt we use while driving a car. A seat belt can’t resist the accident, but it can reduce the impact of the accident. Likewise, vaccines can’t resist the infection, but it can reduce its impact. This shows the similarity between the seat belt and the vaccine. So, after vaccination, it is not desirable to turn casual and don’t follow preventive measures. Even after vaccination, Sanitising, Mask & Social Distancing (SMS) must be followed strictly.”
Moderating the event, Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder, HEAL Health said, “As we have been educating the people through our COVID Fighters Public Health Safety Movement, which we started last year in the month of April in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 in India, we have organized India for Vaccination E-Summit to provide the right information to the people on vaccination. We have also created a wall of vaccine torchbearers who have been already vaccinated, sharing their experiences regarding vaccination and its essence for the masses to fight against coronavirus. In over 300 days of the movement, we have brought together a pool of eminent public health experts from across the spectrum to discuss and make the people aware of the emanating health issues related to COVID and beyond.”