New Delhi: As India faces an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, the executive director of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) Suresh Jadhav on Friday (May 21, 2021) alleged that the central government widened the COVID-19 vaccination drive without into account the available stock of vaccines.
The SII executive director, while speaking at an e-summit organised by Heal Health, a health advocacy and awareness platform, revealed that India should have followed the WHO guidelines and prioritised vaccination accordingly.
Suresh Jadhav said that initially over 300 million people were supposed to be administered with the COVID-19 vaccine for which over 600 million doses were acquired by the authorities. “But before we reached the target, the government opened vaccination for all above 45 years followed by those aged 18 and above despite knowing well that so much vaccine is not available", Jadhav said.
“That is the greatest lesson we learnt. We must take into account the availability of the product and then use it judiciously," added Jadhav, while stressing on the fact that vaccination is essential but even after getting jabbed, people are susceptible to the coronavirus infection.
“Therefore, be cautious and follow COVID preventive guidelines. Although the double mutant of Indian variants are neutralised, yet variants can create problems in vaccination," he said.
“As far as the selection of vaccine is concerned, as per CDC and NIH data, whatever vaccine is available can be taken provided it is licensed by the regulatory body. And it is too early to say which vaccine is efficacious and which is not,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry on Friday revealed that the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has surpassed 19.32 crore. The Union Health Ministry said 6,63,353 beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years received their first dose on Friday, and cumulatively 92,73,550 across 37 states and UTs since the start of the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive.
(With PTI inputs)