New Delhi: There will not be any attempt to give people the COVID-19 vaccine if they do not wish to take one, reports News 18, citing highly placed sources within the Union Health Ministry. There is considerable speculation that once the vaccine arrives, it will be the new ‘aadhaar’ for gaining access to a public place, cinema, restaurant or a pub.
“This is a democracy. Even if you are in the priority group and have been identified as a vulnerable person, you will not be forced to take a vaccine,” a source said on the condition of anonymity, adds News 18.
There was also never any talk of inoculating the entire country. Responding to a question at a press briefing, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said the purpose of the Covid vaccine drive would be to break the chain of viral transmission.
"Our purpose is to break the chain. If we are able to vaccinate a critical mass of people and break the chain of transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population," he reasoned.
This means priority groups would be inoculated with government support, while healthy adults without any underlying health conditions would have to buy the vaccine like any other medical product, points out News18.
Masks would, however, continue to be used even after vaccines. Discussion is also underway on whether those already infected and those who have developed anti-bodies would need vaccines.
Responding to a question on the government’s strategy on whether there is any need to vaccinate those who have been carriers of the virus SARS CoV-2, the ICMR said this involves two things. One, if patients of COVID-19 can have an adverse effect after vaccination. Second, there is a need to spare vaccines. Both issues are under deliberation.