The trials of several new vaccines have been quite encouraging, NTAGI chief NK Arora has said

The Chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) Narendra Kumar Arora has said that India will be able to procure 30-35 crore vaccine doses a month by August this year. This will enable the country to vaccinate one crore people in a day.

Covid-19 vaccine production is in full swing with the country expecting the world’s first DNA-plasmid vaccine by Zydus Cadila to roll out soon. The NTAGI Chairman has informed that the other vaccine that the country can expect soon is Biological E – a protein subunit vaccine.

Assuring that the trials of these vaccines have been quite encouraging, he expressed hope that this vaccine will be available by September. The Indian m-RNA vaccine which can be stored at temperature 2 - 8 Degree Celsius should also be available by September.

"Two other vaccines namely Novavax by Serum Institute of India and Johnson & Johnson may also be expected soon. By the third week of July, the production capacity of Bharat Biotech and SII are going to increase phenomenally. This will enhance the vaccine supply in the country. By August, we expect to procure 30-35 crore doses in a month,” he said.

Vaccine hesitancy has let people believe all types of rumors that are coming their way. Amid the increase in spread of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccine, the NTAGI Chief answered all questions related to vaccines in an interview to Department of Science and Technology’s OTT - India Science Channel.

Over the last few days, there have been reports which state that taking vaccine shots against Covid-19 can cause infertility.

Rubbishing such claims, Arora said, “When the polio vaccine came and was being administered in India and other parts of the world, this sort of a rumour had spread at that time too. At that time, misinformation was created that children who are getting polio vaccines may face infertility in the future. This sort of wrong information is spread by the anti-vaccine lobby. We should know that all vaccines go through intense scientific research. None of the vaccines have this sort of a side-effect. I would like to fully assure everyone that this sort of propaganda only misguides people. Our main intention is to save ourselves, family and society from coronavirus. So, everyone must come forward and get vaccinated.”

Speaking about the general hesitancy among people about vaccines, Arora said, “People need to understand that COVID may be mild in many cases. But when it takes a severe form, it may become a financial burden and may also lead to loss of life. It is very encouraging that we can protect ourselves from COVID through vaccination. We must all firmly believe that COVID-19 vaccines available in India are completely safe. I assure everyone that all the vaccines have undergone rigorous tests, including clinical trials that are globally recognized. As far as side-effects are concerned, all vaccines have mild side-effects. This includes mild fever, fatigue, pain in the injection site, etc. for a day or two. It does not cause any serious side-effects.”

Many people believe that if a person does not experience fever after getting vaccinated, then the vaccination is not working. On this, Arora noted that most people do not face any side-effects after COVID vaccination but it does not mean that vaccines are not efficient.

“Only 20% - 30% of people are going to experience fever after vaccination. Some people may get fever after the first dose and not have any fever after the second dose and vice-versa. It varies from person to person and it is highly unpredictable,” he said.

Asked about the effectiveness of vaccines, he said, “Infection may occur even after taking both the doses of the vaccine. But, in such cases, the disease will certainly be mild and the chances of a serious illness practically become nil. Further, just to avoid such an occurrence, people are being told to follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour also after vaccination. People can transmit the virus, which means that the virus may pass through you to family members and others. Had the vaccination of people aged above 45 years not been done, then death rates and burden on hospitals would have been unimaginable. Now that the second wave is on the downslide, credit for it goes to vaccination.”