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All four Covid Vaccines Meet the Bar Set for Acceptance: Dr Gagandeep Kang

In Health
February 20, 2021

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
All the four vaccines approved for use against Covid-19 meet the specifications of 50 per cent or more efficacy, noted Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor, The Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Division of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore.

There are currently more than 60 Covid-19 vaccine candidates in clinical development around the world and over 200 in pre-clinical development. Their roll-out would only be a matter of months considering that at least six billion doses need to be available this year, Dr Kang said in the panel discussion on ‘Pandemic & Preparedness’ of the webinar series, ‘Kerala Health: Making the SDGs a Reality,” organized by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Kerala.

A number of Covid vaccines are in development stage in India too, Dr Kang said.

Dr Jacob John, Virologist and Professor Emeritus CMC Vellore, said through its handling of the Covid situation Kerala has taught other states how to be proactive rather than reactive in a pandemic situation.

While the state can continue to play the leadership role in the health sector, it needs to set up a Health Protection Agency which diligently engages in health surveillance, he suggested.

Dr. David Wilson, Program Director, World Bank, said in a pandemic situation there should be far greater coordinated response when the crisis hits.

Health systems in countries should have constant upskilling and preparedness even when there is no disease to combat, he said.

Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, Head of Epidemiology (Rtd), ICMR, Govt of India, said there should not be any hesitation in accepting the vaccine. Community mobilization, as it happens in Kerala, is also a must and it is also important to promote Covid-appropriate behaviour, he added.

Speaking on “Kerala’s response to Covid-19”, Dr Rajan Khobragade, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Government of Kerala, said that in tackling the pandemic the state has pursued a strategy of ‘active actions’ rather than ‘reactive response’ right from the start.

“Active actions are important and not reactive response. We conducted area specific interventions, sero-surveillance and genome study in all districts. The genome study results will come out in March,” he said.

The five-day webinar series that began on February 17 continued for the second day yesterday with focus on the prospects of achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) amid an added challenge posed by Covid-19. The next three sessions are held from 5PM onwards on February 24 and 25 and March 4. To join the conference, please visit www.keralahealthconference.in

Speaking in a session on “Crisis Leadership and Workforce Resilience”, Dr Ajit Abraham, Consultant HPB and Trauma Surgeon, The Royal London Hospital, National Health Service, UK said that one of the positives of Covid-19 crisis is that it has made very acutely clear to people the impact of inequity on healthcare outcome. “In the UK, there were some very welcome paradigm shifts in thinking. The pandemic has reshaped relationship between communities and public services. It also brought about lasting reform to social care, prompted embedding and acceleration of digital change,” he said.

Moderating a session on the Pandemic–Response at District Level, Dr Rathan Kelkar, State Mission Director, National Health Mission, said Covid has been catastrophic to both the health sector and to the economy. Dr. Navjot Khosa, District Collector, Thiruvananthapuram, Suhas S, District Collector, Ernakulam, Dr Adeela Abdulla, District Collector, Wayanad, and district medical officers spoke on coordinated strategies adopted in managing the pandemic in their respective districts.