Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Thursday that while a vaccine could change into to be had by the beginning of next year, it would still take time to achieve everyone. Following distancing norms was once an important social vaccine against Covid-19 these days, he added.
Vardhan was once speaking at the Rajya Sabha wherein members raised quite a lot of issues, including the availability and affordability of a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Defending the government’s handling of Covid-19, Vardhan said that even before they found the first case in India, they had initiated steps to counter the pandemic.
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On January 8, the matter was once discussed with expert groups and on January 17, efforts were initiated towards detailed health preparedness and advisories were issued, he said. The first case was once reported on January 20—a medical student who came from China. For that first case, 162 contacts were traced, he said.
Vardhan also said the country had come a long way from the point when people on TV channels said there was once a scarcity of PPE kits, testing kits and masks; there were hundreds of labs across the country now, and no discrimination against any state.
He added that when the pandemic broke out, even “advanced countries like United States of The us were trying to be told approximately it”. Migrant labour faced difficulties, but the government tried to supply all facilities—64 lakh migrant labour were given train and buses, he said.
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Vardhan said clinical trials were being held for the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine and there were vaccine candidates that had reached phases I, II and III.
“We are hoping that by the beginning of the next year we will be able to get a vaccine. We are also coordinating with World Health Association (WHO) and other bodies. We are a number of the few countries that have managed to isolate the virus. There are around 40,000 samples that are being studied,” he said.
He, alternatively, added that even after the vaccine is able, it is going to not be immediately to be had to everyone.
“We need to break the chain of transmission. The mask is our greatest protector. After the lockdown was once eased, people felt the virus had been controlled. But we wish to follow hygiene protocols, continue distancing and wear masks. The transmission is taking place on account of our carelessness. We must believe wearing a mask and maintaining a two-yard distance from other people as the most efficient social vaccine,” Vardhan said.
Vardhan also said that in comparison to India, the number of cases in addition to deaths in US and Brazil was once much higher. He said even India’s recovery rate had risen. Only The us carried out more tests than us, he said.
He said the mortality rate at 1.64% is the lowest on the planet and the government is targeting bringing it down to less than 1%. He said though the number of cases may have crossed 50 million, the number of active cases was once less than 20%.
Earlier, several opposition party leaders had raised questions on the government’s handling of the situation.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government had wasted “golden months in the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19”. He said the Congress party and its leaders were the a number of the first to apprise everyone approximately the hard challenge that was once coming, he said.
Azad, a former Union health minister, gave several suggestions, including setting up committed infectious disease hospitals relatively than Covid-19 hospitals to keep away from stigma. “We must start the usage of the term physical distancing instead of social distancing,” he said.
He also said that vaccines must be made to be had at affordable prices.
“We will have to be able for last-mile delivery. Advanced preparations must be made, unlike the lockdown,” he said.