KOCHI: As the much-awaited vaccines to fight Covid-19 inch closer to realisation and production on a large scale, the Central and state governments are gearing up to administer them en masse.Who are to receive vaccinations first has been the subject of much debate. Frontline healthcare workers top the list, with many suggesting to give them priority. Some experts, however, caution against taking such a decision in haste. If anything were to go wrong with the vaccine’s performance in future, the whole medical system would suffer, they forewarn.
“Doctors, police, army, and bureaucrats should not be the first in the priority list for vaccination as they are the building blocks for any nation in terms of health, law and order, national security and administration. Any major adverse events after receiving the vaccine can destroy any country by destroying the above-mentioned pillars,” said Dr Rajesh Rajan, cardiologist, and president of the Association of MD Physicians (AMD).
“Normally a vaccine can be developed properly with all phases with proper follow-up in terms of efficacy and safety only after a period of 6-7 years. Here the world came up with a vaccine in 6-8 months. The important factor of safety should be considered here. The safety of these vaccines can only be ensured by proper follow-up for many years or at least 12 months. The common man and the vulnerable should be the first to receive the vaccine and later the frontline workers.
If at all any adverse situation arises, as we have instances reported in the past, the frontline force should be there to handle the situation,” said Dr Rajesh.“Most of the vaccines have come up with percentages of efficacy, the higher the percentage the higher the protection. But one must keep in mind that having taken the vaccination, it is not a 100 per cent preventive from getting the disease. If you are exposed more to the virus, even after being vaccinated there are chances of getting the disease. 100 per cent protection and prevention is only for smallpox,” said Dr G Vijayaraghavan, vice-chairman and founder-director of Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences.
The one-month period after getting vaccinated is considered as crucial for the state. “The injection and good quality immunity will take at least a month. There will be a first injection and after 14 days another one will follow. The crucial period for anyone first getting the vaccine will be the one month of receiving it. If anything goes wrong then we will be able to know by then and precautions can be taken. So far we are going in the right direction,” said Dr Vijayaraghavan.
However, one cannot rule out the fact that healthcare workers are the most exposed lot to the virus and they need to be taken care of. “Developing vaccination itself was a desperate measure and it is a risk everyone is willing to take. Though everyone is exposed to the virus, health workers are the most exposed and therefore there is no doubt that they should be the first to receive them. In another six months, once the vaccine hits the markets, we might be able to give vaccination to all without any disparity,” said Indian Medical Association (IMA) state president Dr Abraham Varghese.
The one-month period after getting vaccinated is considered as crucial for the state. One cannot rule out the fact that healthcare workers are the most exposed lot to the virus and they need to be taken care of.
Fewer tests, but spread continues
T’Puram: As many as 3,966 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the state on Friday, as 15,000 fewer tests were conducted as compared to Thursday. The test positivity rate of 10.14 per cent indicates that the disease spread has not changed much in the last few days. The death of 23 persons was confirmed to be because of Covid-19, taking the state’s toll to 2,171.
Also, 4,544 recoveries were reported on Friday. At present, there are 63,885 patients undergoing treatment for Covid while a total of 5,21,522 people have recovered from the disease in the state. As many as 3,13,608 people are under isolation across the state -- 2,97,531 in home or institutional quarantine and 16,077 in hospitals -- with 1,594 more being admitted to hospitals on Friday.