Dr Ella said that a few side effects of vaccination were common and that it should not act as a deterrent to anyone from getting inoculated.
Coronavirus vaccine: As the vaccination drive in India is continuing on somehow amid the shortage of doses, there are still a lot of questions that surround the vaccination. While the government is, on its end, using various measures to address the vaccine hesitancy and other issues, Bharat Biotech Head of Business Development and International Advocacy, Dr Raches Ella held a virtual interaction with FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) members on Saturday around the topic, ‘All About Vaccines’. During this conversation, Dr Ella said that a few side effects of vaccination were common and that it should not act as a deterrent to anyone from getting inoculated.
During the session, Dr Ella also said that the developer got the go-ahead for conducting pediatric trials of the vaccine on children aged between 2 years and 18 years, and these trials might begin from June 1. Bharat Biotech has developed Covaxin along with the nodal health agency, Indian Council of Medical Research, and the vaccine is currently in use for vaccinating people.
However, India is grappling with a massive vaccine shortage, due to which several states have either not started or have halted the vaccination drive for people aged between 18 years and 44 years. Amid this, he said that Bharat Biotech is hoping to increase its vaccine production capacity to 70 crore by the end of 2021.
Talking more about the side-effects that vaccines cause, Dr Ella said that even if the purest form of water were to be injected into someone, there would be chances of some reactions, because that is the way the body works. He added that a healthy body should react whenever a foreign element enters the body, asserting that the same was the reason why people were having side effects due to vaccines.
He talked about several issues related to the vaccination, including the dosing interval. Dr Ella said that ideally, the gap should be somewhere between two weeks and six weeks, but even if someone were to miss that schedule they need not panic and just need to go at the earliest possible time to get the second dose. He also said that a good antibody response can be developed about three months after the second dose, and added that at the moment, the vaccines were doing good enough and whether booster shots are required is something that would depend on future variants.
He also said that cases of coronavirus could be seen after the first vaccine dose because the first dose provided only partial efficacy because the immune system takes time to develop. He explained that after the second dose, the severity of COVID infection is likely to be significantly lower.
He also debunked misinformation being spread on WhatsApp and said that couples trying to conceive as well as menstruating women can take the vaccine.