Prioritize Covid vaccination for uninfected people first, says AIIMS Professor

Universal vaccination is completely irrational as there is no additional benefit, says Dr Sanjay Kumar Rai, President, IPHA, Professor, Dept. of Community Medicines, AIIMS, New Delhi

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New Delhi: The new variants of COVID have been emerging consistently for the last 2 years and the vaccine drive is on with the same intensity to mitigate the infection, and other severity brought in. Renowned Public Health experts have different opinions based on the emerging new scientific evidence regarding COVID and vaccination.
Speaking on the science of vaccination, infection and the emerging new variants of COVID during Health4All Episode-16, Dr Sanjay Kumar Rai, President, IPHA, Professor, Dept. of Community Medicines, AIIMS, New Delhi said, “Vaccine is the smart way of controlling diseases. However, in the current scenario, those recovered from COVID infection are best-protected people, so vaccinate such people first, who are not COVID infected. Vaccination and natural infection will provide herd immunity. Natural immunity provides a better and longer duration of protection. Studies also prove that you may develop lifelong immunity after a natural infection. Recently, CDC has observed that natural infection provides better and longer protection. The vaccine was a priority for the susceptible population. Natural infection is also helping boost immunity just like vaccines.”
Dr Rai further added, “We need to have two comparator groups for vaccination. The one who recovered from COVID, and another who are uninfected to observe the efficacy of vaccines on both groups. Universal vaccination is completely irrational as there is no additional benefit. It is unethical because the risk is more than the benefit. Now, there is sufficient evidence that those who have recovered from COVID are the best-protected persons on the earth.”
Emphasizing the judicious use of vaccination, Dr Rai added, “Every year, we save 3 million lives by vaccination. As vaccines are precious; let’s use them judiciously. Currently, 334 vaccines for Coronavirus are in different stages of development (140 on clinical trials and 194 in pre-clinical stages); and 33 vaccines are approved for full use. So, we must vaccinate those who haven’t had COVID ever. Vaccines are effective in preventing severity and death up to 80-90% in a susceptible population. More than 60% of the population across the world have received 1st dose of COVID vaccines.”
In another session on Gastro, Liver and Biliary Diseases: Causes and Prevention of Health4All Episode-16, Dr Anurag Tandon, Head, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Metro Centre for Liver Digestive Diseases, Metro Hospitals, said, “We should not speculate ourselves at home that when we encounter with pain due to gas; there might be some problems in the heart. Therefore, it is advisable to consult the doctor immediately rather than getting Over the Counter medicines. A healthy and natural lifestyle and good foods are essential to get optimum efficacy of medicines. Being stress-free, taking a good diet and practizing a healthy lifestyle are keys to having a healthy liver followed by holistic health.”
Elaborating on different aspects of liver diseases during Health4All Episode-16, Dr Piyush Ranjan, Senior Consultant & Vice-Chairman, Institute of Liver and Gastroenterology, Pancreatic Biliary Sciences, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, said, “Gastritis is not a particular disease itself, it may be due to inflammation of the stomach, bloating in stomach and burning in the head or maybe due to other causes. When blockage in the liver occurs, it shows a sign of a red flag, and we should immediately consult the doctor for this. To stay liver-healthy, antibiotics should be avoided and a natural lifestyle should be adopted.”