The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday said that there would be no need to administer vaccine to the entire population if a critical mass of people is inoculated and the virus transmission is broken.
"Vaccination would depend on the efficacy of the vaccine and our purpose is to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. If we are able to vaccinate critical mass of people and break virus transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population," ICMR DG Balram Bhargava said at a briefing today.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the government never spoke about vaccinating the entire country. "It is important that we discuss such scientific issues, based on factual information only," he responded on a question about the time needed to vaccinate the whole population.
In reference to an adverse event at the Serum Institute of India's vaccine trial, Bhushan said it won't affect the timeline in any manner whatsoever. "Whenever clinical trial starts, subjects are expected to sign prior informed consent form. This is global practice, it happens across all countrues. Form tells subject about possible adverse events that may happen in case one decided to participate in a trial," he further said.
#WATCH "Govt has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country," says Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan
"If we're able to vaccinate critical mass of people & break virus transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population," ICMR DG Dr Balram Bhargava added. https://t.co/HKbssjATjH pic.twitter.com/egEB1TAiC9— ANI (@ANI) December 1, 2020
"Adverse events do occur with drugs or vaccines or any other health intervention. It is the role of the regulator after collating all data to ascertain or refute whether there is a causal link between the event and intervention," the ICMR DG said at the briefing.
However, the Serum Institute of India has denied allegations that a COVID-19 trial volunteer suffered serious side effects from a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, saying that the vaccine is safe and immunogenic. "We would want to assure everyone that the vaccine won't be released for mass use unless it is proven immunogenic, and safe," it said in a blog.
Last week, a volunteer in Chennai claimed to have suffered serious neurological and psychological symptoms after taking the experimental shot and has sued the company along with others and a sought compensation of Rs 5 crore. Serum is conducting trials of AstraZeneca's vaccine in India as part of a manufacturing agreement.