Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, India had begun vaccinating citizens at the beginning of 2021. Till date, more than 40 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine and others are queueing up for the jab. But Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan contends that it is not necessary for every individual to get vaccinated.
During the Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Friday, Vardhan said while it was imperative that priority groups be vaccinated against COVID-19 at the earliest, "every vaccine doesn't require universal immunisation". He was to a question by NCP MP Supriya Sule on whether the government is aiming for the same when it came to COVID-19.
"Not each and every person in the world will be vaccinated. The prioritisation process is a dynamic process. The behaviour of the virus is also dynamic. All things are based on scientific facts, scrutiny and vision of the overall scientific and health community," he explained. The Health Minister also told Parliament that the COVID-19 vaccination drive will be extended in the coming days.
Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi however disagrees. In a tweet on Saturday morning the lawmaker contended that it was necessary to let people decide for themselves.
"Universal immunisation not necessary - Health Minister. But allowing the citizens to take the decision of when and if at all to take the COVID-19 vaccine is necessary, let the government not decide for them," she countered.
Presently India is using two vaccines - Bharat Biotech and ICMR's Covaxin and the Serum Institute manufactured AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Covishield. Maharashtra and Punjab, which are recording a surge in new COVID-19 cases, tightened curbs on Friday and the chief minister of the western state said lockdown is an option, as India added close to 40,000 cases in the biggest daily increase in nearly four months.