The declining second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic eased the coronavirus-related curbs across the country. Top virologist Dr. W Ian Lipkin has cautioned against this, saying that India does not yet have the sort of “safety armor” needed to start reopening. The “safety armor,” according to Lipkin, is that vaccinate large percentage of people against the viral illness, which, he said, is “very small” in India’s case.
“Less than 20 percent of the Indian population vaccinated. Then, 30 percent of the population under the age of 18 is not yet eligible for vaccination. So, this means that you don’t have the sort of armor needed to safely reopen in that way,” Lipkin said on Saturday at India Today Conclave 2021.
The Chicago-born expert was pointing to the fact that though the Government of India aims to fully vaccinate cent percent adult population of more than 900 million by the end of the year, nearly 950 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered till now, a figure which includes both single and double-jabbed (fully vaccinated) beneficiaries.
The nationwide vaccination drive against the viral illness began on January 16 this year. However, as highlighted by Lipkin, only inoculate those aged 18 and above.
He also stressed that scientists should develop vaccines that will not only prevent severe diseases but also their transmission.
“We need to improve our public health infrastructure. Also, we should track and trace individuals who have been exposed. So that we can adopt a ring vaccination strategy, which successfully eradicated smallpox in India,” Lipkin said.
On Saturday, India recorded 19,740 new Covid-19 cases, down 7 percent from the day before. 248 more people succumbed due to the infection, the Union health ministry’s dashboard showed.
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Image Credit: The Free Press Journal