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COVID-19 Vaccine May Not End Pandemic – Why? Here Is The Answer

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COVID-19 Vaccine May Not End Pandemic - Why? Here Is The Answer

The race for the COVID-19 vaccine is at the peak as many countries claim their medicine to be more effective than the others. However, will the vaccine itself end the pandemic? The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), on November 16, said that a vaccine would not be enough to end the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said that the vaccine would complement the other existing tools and not replace them. He added that the vaccine would not end the pandemic.

It is nearly a year since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, but is still raging with infections soaring past 59.2 million and claiming more than 1.4 million lives. Some countries were quite fast in reacting and combating, while others are still fighting a battle with the virus. Since the outbreak, there have been several potential coronavirus vaccines reporting promising results in trials, but none have been authorized for use in the US or Europe yet.

Vaccine development and Counter Questions

In November, two vaccines Pfizer and Moderna brought out extremely effective results, but there are still many unanswered questions. Many experts have brought out concerns about whether the vaccine would stop the transmission of the infection and how long will the vaccine effect last.

Michael Mina, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, told that it is possible that there could be an early immune response to the vaccine that does not last. He said that the body might be making antibodies that later die.

“We may be measuring the effects of an impressive front line army that spins up in response to the vaccine – but then we should be careful not to assume the same efficacy persists in holding that line after most of the troops disappear,” Mina tweeted.

Dr Barry Bloom, the former dean of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a press conference held on November 16, said that the results of the trials are much better than expected by many experts.

Even though experts say that as trials continue, that efficacy is likely to fall as more COVID-19 cases are confirmed among participants.

Arrival of Vaccine

The vast majority of people are still at the risk of the coronavirus, and the vaccine trials is a ray of hope, for bringing the pandemic under control if not ending it. Scientists and vaccine developers have mentioned that a handful of the vaccine could be available by the end of 2020.

In India, the final trials of the local COVID-19 vaccine have begun. Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan, said that the final trials for the vaccine would end in a month or two. Meanwhile, Russia, the trusted manufacturer of Sputnik V, claimed that its cost would be less than that of USA’s Pfizer and Moderna.

While, the European Medicines Agency has told that once they get the authorization, the vaccines would be available by year-end or the beginning of 2021.

Chief Scientist of WHO, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, said that the first half of 2021 would be a period in which only limited doses of the vaccines will be available. Due to this, it is said that the vaccine would be first available to health workers’ and older adults.

How long before COVID vaccine stops pandemic?

Depending on how effective the COVID-19 vaccine is and how the distribution for it is done, the herd immunity will be achieved. That is, it has to reach a point when the whole population gets immune to the infection, hence preventing its spread.

However, there is no sign to prove that the vaccine would bring an end to the pandemic ultimately. Dr Kate O’Brien, Director of Immunization at WHO, told in the conference on November 16, “We have plenty of vaccines that are life-saving vaccines, measles is an example of that, a highly efficacious vaccine over 95 per cent efficiency and yet we still have measles outbreaks.”

Dr Barry Bloom, who is also a research professor at Harvard, says: “There will still be lots of people that are not vaccinated in the first six months or year, and they have the capacity to transmit infection.”

It means that people, even those who are vaccinated, will need to continue wearing masks and follow social distancing norms to prevent high levels of virus in the community, he added.

Responding to the doubts raised regarding the herd immunity, Dr Bloom said that higher the effectiveness of the vaccine, smaller the number of people would need to get the vaccine to achieve herd immunity.

Challenges associated with distribution of vaccine:

One of the main challenges is to manufacture and distribute the vaccine globally. Several existing vaccine manufacturing firms normally immunize children and adolescents, but now they will also have a look at adults who are at serious risk of the pandemic.

The whole process of making sure everyone gets the required dose of the vaccine and at the right time is a major challenge. It means that for many low- middle-income countries, a one-dose- shot that provides immunity and does not require any booster would be used.

Reduced access to the vaccine distribution could also happen in areas that lack human resource.

Another factor that impacts the distribution is how the vaccine would be stored because it has to be kept very carefully at a particular temperature.

One advantage of the Moderna vaccine candidate, for instance, experts say, is that it does not need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, and can be stored in a regular refrigerator for 30 days, making distribution easier.

There are concerns regarding black marketing or theft of the vaccine. Since the initial supply would be limited, experts worry that there could be malpractices associated with its distribution.

Many countries lack well- functioning and integrated medicines regulatory system, making it more likely for black marketing of vaccine to occur. The impact of it could be devastating, because it will bring in scepticism and distrust among the people about the virus. Thus, the current crisis in the pandemic could get worsened.

There are a lot of concerns associated with the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution. It is crucial to overcome these challenges, which itself is a tough task. Only time will tell how the vaccine distribution is going to happen and how practical is its use in reducing or preventing the pandemic from spreading.

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Hypocrisy of Federalism: Reply on Oxygen Related Deaths

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Death and Oxygen COVID II News Aur Chai

On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry reported to the Parliament that no deaths were recorded due to a lack of oxygen across the country during the second wave of the pandemic.

The officials and ministers in eight states also denied fatalities due to the lack of oxygen. Whereas reports indicate that approximately 320 patients may have died in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic due to oxygen shortage.

The report by the Union Health Ministry to the Parliament has triggered massive criticism across the country. It has also prompted some significant accusations against the Bhartiya Janata Party [BJP].

The denial of the officials and ministers of the eight states regarding the same has also triggered a major rebuttal from within their parties, accusing them of aiding the Centre in hiding oxygen-related deaths.

According to a volunteer-driven data collation effort, DataMeet, Media from across 20 states report that there were approximately 619 deaths recorded due to lack of oxygen. However, later the cause of deaths was disputed with other factors that attributed to the fatalities.

MAHARASHTRA 

The state health minister of Maharashtra, Rajesh Tope also sided with the Centre’s stand of no-oxygen-related deaths.

“As far as Maharashtra is concerned, we have never said that any death due to oxygen shortage,” he said to a local TV channel on Wednesday.

However, in April and May, the shortage of oxygen supply in the state had prompted the Chief Minister, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, to request the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to inspect the proposal of pressing the Indian Air Force to arrange additional oxygen supplies for the state.

HARYANA 

A medical board in Hisar- a region in Haryana, had openly established oxygen shortage as a cause of deaths in the region.

Additionally, after an inquiry, 22 patients succumbed to Covid due to the lack of oxygen in Haryana.

MADHYA PRADESH 

According to the reports of DataMeet, figures indicated that approximately 68 deaths took place across the state of Madhya Pradesh due to lack of oxygen.

However, Vishwas Sarang, the medical education Minister, stated, “We received at least 10-12 complaints related to deaths due to oxygen supply disruption. Medical experts found the cause of death was other medical complications, not hypoxia,”

GOA 

In Goa, between May 10- May 14, approximately 83 patients succumbed to death.

But according to Dr Shivanand Bandekar, the Dean of Goa Medical College and Hospital stated, “We can’t put this as a direct answer. People who come to GMC, they are all referred because we are a tertiary (care) center where criticality is high and most of the patients die because of Covid pneumonia where oxygen is a part of the treatment. So we cannot directly say this (disruption in the oxygen supply) is the reason why they have died,”

However, during the hearing at Goa at the time of these deaths, the state government had admitted that “some of the casualties may have taken place” due to supply disruption.

Within the same hearing, the Bombay High Court had said, “We have long passed the stage of determining whether patients are suffering from the lack of oxygen or not. The material placed before us establishes that patients are indeed suffering and even in some cases succumbing for want of the supply of oxygen, in the State of Goa.”

Officials and ministers of several states like West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh took a similar stand while siding with the Centre on their “no deaths due to Oxygen shortage” statement.

Even though various reports and data reflect a significant number of deaths due to a shortage of oxygen supply within different states, the Center and the state officials have refused to acknowledge them and have denied that these fatalities are attributed to the lack of oxygen supply.

Health Activist Amulya Nidhi from Madhya Pradesh, claims that volunteer groups from across the country have clear case studies and data that report deaths of patients across various states due to a lack of oxygen supply. “If they are so sure about it, they should allow an independent team of experts to probe the matter,” he said.

 

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Why Are people Not Taking Covid Vaccine?

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COVID Vaccine II News Aur Chai

Since the beginning of the Pandemic in 2020, all people have wanted is to find a way back to normal. A way from virtual lives to real, social lives. Being trapped at home with limited movement has been fun for no one. And yet, when a solution is finally being offered, people are hesitant to embrace it. Vaccines are the solution to once and for all immunise us against this virus, but many people fail to embrace the cure. Even though the vaccination reduces risks in exposure to the mutating variants of the Novel Coronavirus, there are people reluctant to take the possibly life-saving shot.

A vaccine race began throughout the world to curb the spread of Covid, India being one of the leaders. Immunisation is proven to be the most successful means to prevent diseases. Still, there is always hesitance that follows with the process. Many reasons cause vaccine hesitancy, but three of the main reasons are inadequate knowledge and fear of side effects, the speed of vaccine development, and rumours and myths.

The biggest fear that prevents people from taking the vaccine is a fear of side effects caused by inadequate knowledge. Many of us might show reluctance in taking the vaccine, fearing the severity of side effects. This tends to happen because most people do not understand how a vaccine works and nudges our bodies to create antibodies in our system to immunise us to the virus.

Many people reason that the side effects make them sick when they have been in perfect health for so long. They believe that it is the vaccine that makes them sick. This cannot be further from the truth. The public needs to be made aware of the workings of the vaccine to promote the vaccination drive around the world.

The other cause for hesitancy is the speed at which the vaccines have been developed. Many people believe that simply because the development speed of Covid immunising shots was quicker as compared to past viruses, corners have been cut in the process. It is essential to know that this is not true as all the procedures have been followed during the development of vaccines. None of them have been permitted for distribution without clinical trials and the approval of the FDA.

The last reason is that of rumours and myths. The rural population, a key demographic in our country, is reluctant to take the vaccine due to a lack of information provided to them. The inadequacy makes them quick to believe in rumours and myths surrounding immunisation, consequently making them reluctant to participate in the process. Reports of death post the vaccine have fanned the rumour mills in rural areas regarding the fatality of the vaccine.

Hesitancy in vaccination can also be seen in another key demographic, women. The proof for this in India is the disparity in men’s vaccination ratios which are starkly contrasting. Rumours and myths surrounding vaccines have led the population to believe that taking the jab affects fertility in women. It is essential to know that vaccinations do not cause infertility in men or women. It is this kind of rumour-mongering that causes fear in people.

Misleading tweets by prominent figures also cause vaccine hesitancy. One prime example is senior advocate Prashant Bushan, whose tweets about the efficacy and safety of covid vaccines were tagged as “misleading” by Twitter.

Tweet by Prashant Bhushan

Misinformation being spread by prominent people is another cause of reluctance in people not taking the vaccine, which must be stopped to defeat the Pandemic.

Many people who have already suffered from Coronavirus also believe that they do not need the vaccine as they are already immune to the disease. This is a falsehood that needs to be cleared as a vaccine prolongs the effectiveness of the immunisation, keeping the person safe for a more extended period.

Vaccines are preventative medicines that allow us to acquire immunity against the virus, preparing our bodies to protect us in case of exposure to the disease. While vaccination may not provide complete safety, it reduces the severity of the infection and the chances of death.

With newer and stronger variants emerging as mutations of the Coronavirus, all of us must be fully vaccinated. It is the only way to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us. It is also the only way to make a return slowly but surely to what we knew as “normal” and stop living life as we have known for the past one and a half years.

 

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ZyCov-D Proposed As World’s First DNA COVID Vaccine

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ZyCOV-D DNA Vaccine II News Aur ChaiI

With the Delta Variant setting its wave globally, ZyCoV-D, India’s first Plasmid DNA Covid-19 vaccine, is in the running for an Emergency Use Authorization from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Vaccine maker Zydus Cadila, which already has anti-Covid treatments on the market, claims to have conducted the largest clinical trial in India so far at over 50 centres, with over 28,000 volunteers ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old.

According to the firm, with its 66.6 per cent effectiveness for RT-PCR positive patients in the interim study, ZyCov-D has already demonstrated solid immunogenicity, tolerance, and safety profile. It went on to say that no moderate instances of Covid-19 were seen in the vaccination arm after the third dose was administered, indicating a 100 per cent effectiveness for mild illness.

What is Zydus’ approach?

By mid-August, the business intended to be manufacturing 10 million doses each month, according to managing director Sharvil Patel. “We are currently only focusing our efforts on making sure we can make doses available for India,” Patel said in a virtual news conference. If the injection is approved, it will become the country’s sixth vaccination to be approved for use.

Patel added that data on immunogenicity for the adolescent children subgroup would be submitted in the next four to six weeks.

The pharmaceutical company has also provided data on a two-dose regimen for the injection.

What are DNA vaccines?

ZyCoV-D, if authorized, will be the world’s first DNA vaccine, according to Zydus, since it uses a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic code – DNA or RNA – to trigger an immune response against the virus’s spike protein.

How are DNA vaccines Different from mRNA vaccines?

In contrast to the viral vector vaccines or inactivated vaccines like Covishield and Covaxin, DNA and RNA vaccines trigger an immune response by using a portion of the virus’s genes.

The distinction between DNA and RNA vaccinations is that the latter is passed on to a different molecule known as messenger RNA. The DNA vaccination also uses a tiny electrical pulse to convey the message to the cell.

DNA and RNA vaccines are less expensive than standard protein vaccinations. They are praised for their efficacy and capacity to be produced more quickly. Because DNA and RNA vaccines rely on genetic code rather than a live virus or bacterium. They may theoretically be made more widely available.

According to research published in the medical journal Frontiers in Immunology in 2019, “preclinical andclinical trials have shown that mRNA vaccines provide a safe and long-lasting immune response inanimal models and humans.”

According to WHO, DNA vaccines have a variety of potential advantages over traditional methods, including activation of both B and T cell responses and improved vaccine durability.

Is ZyCov-D needle-free?

A needle-free injectable method is reported to be used to deliver ZyCoV-D. (NFIS). In most NFISs, a jet of fluid is accelerated to a high enough speed to penetrate the skin through a tiny diameter nozzle. The vaccination may have a greater acceptance rate among youngsters who are afraid of needles, according to Sharvil Patel, managing director of Cadila Healthcare.

The three doses of Zycov-D should be given on days 0, 28, and 56, according to Zydus Cadila. The firm is, however, working on a two-dose vaccination.

According to the company’s information, the vaccine candidate may be stored for a long time at two to eight degrees Celsius and for a brief time at 25 degrees Celsius.

What does the Government have to say about the indemnity of the Vaccine?

The Government is still deliberating whether vaccine makers should be indemnified, as Pfizer and Moderna have asked. While a final decision is still pending, key authorities have stated that there is agreement.

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