India Health Secretary rejected the request of opening up COVID-19 vaccination to all age groups after Delhi CM Kejriwal and Maharashtra CM Thackeray wrote letters to PM requesting the government opens the vaccination to people of all age group.
In a press briefing, the Indian Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “Many people ask why shouldn’t we open vaccination for all. There are two aims of such vaccination drives — to prevent deaths & protect healthcare system.”
“The approach is that those vulnerable to mortality need to be covered soonest. The aim to protect the most vulnerable. The aim is never to vaccinate whoever wants, but always on whoever needs,” he further added.
Many people ask why shouldn't we open vaccination for all. There are two aims of such vaccination drives — to prevent deaths & protect healthcare system. The aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it: Union Health Secy Rajesh Bhushan pic.twitter.com/FCqiW93qsG
— ANI (@ANI) April 6, 2021
Dr. V.K. Paul of Niti Aayog asked a rhetorical question in the press briefing and said, “When we talk about opening vaccination to all, our focus reduces on controlling the pandemic. Did you hear any country that is vaccinating less than 45?”
Mr. Paul said that the government’s current focus is inculcating a COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in people and have containment measures ready for emergency. “When the time comes to open it to all, then we will,” he said.
Additionally, in the press briefing Mr. Paul also said that opening up vaccination drive to person of every age group has to be looked at from a scientific perspective as well. He said how India is lucky with the pace at which people are being vaccinated, and yet one should not trivialize it. “So far no research has shown whether herd immunity develops at so and so pace…The answer is not yet sorted out. But we do know that all vaccines being given today reduce mortality and severe disease. That is the priority,” he added.
In the press briefing, the vaccination effort of the nation was also discussed. Currently, USA, which leads the unfortunate COVID-19 most amount of cases list, has had a daily average of 30.5 lakh vaccines. India is trailing not so far behind as currently 26.53 lakh people are being administered the COVID-19 on a daily basis.
The Centre’s press briefing came after Delhi CM on Monday, April 5 wrote a letter to Prime Minister requesting to expand the vaccination drive. In his letter he requested the PM to give permissions to the schools and community centres in Delhi to be used as vaccination facilities.
The Delhi CM also asked the Indian PM to make the vaccine available to everyone across all age groups, barring those who are medically unfit to get the jabs. Kejriwal claimed that if the Centre allows Delhi to administer the vaccine to people of any age group, the entire populous of Delhi will get vaccinated within 3 months.
The Delhi CM also called the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases and labeled it as the “4th wave” of the pandemic. In the letter, Kejriwal said that the Centre had initially allotted health care facilities like hospitals and nursing homes as the vaccination sites. This was done because if any person suffers from an adverse reaction, they can be quickly taken care of. “The vaccination drive in the last three months has shown that the vaccine is safe. It is, therefore, requested that this condition be removed so that large-scale vaccination centers can be built in,” Kejriwal wrote.
Kejriwal reiterated the idea of vaccines available to everyone and said that once people are getting vaccinated in numbers, it will remove all the skepticism among other people who are on the fence about the safety of the vaccine. “The more people get vaccinated, the more we will be able to reduce the spread of the disease,” Mr. Kejriwal wrote.