Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, made a brief statement out on the current pandemic situation and the country’s vaccine status in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. He said that a potential vaccine is expected to roll out at the dawn of 2021, but will take considerable time to reach everyone. He urged that following social distancing norms and taking sufficient precautionary measures is still the most important thing right now, quoting it as a “social vaccine”.
“By the beginning of the next year, we hope that we will get a vaccine. We are constantly coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health bodies. We are also among the very few countries that have managed to isolate the virus successfully.”, he said.
“We need to break the chain of transmission. After the lockdown was relaxed, people thought the virus had been fully controlled. But we need to understand the situation and practice hygiene protocols, continue distancing and wear masks. Our carelessness is the cause of ongoing transmission.”, Vardhan added.
On the questions put forth by the other Rajya Sabha members on issues dealing with the current pandemic situation, availability, and cost of the COVID-19 vaccine, Vardhan insured further necessary steps and assured the situation is being handled effectively. Further adding that the necessary and precautionary measures were initiated even before a single COVID-19 case was found in India.
A meeting with top experts on 8th January was held and a week later necessary steps were initiated assuring an effective plan to counter a potential pandemic with issuing necessary advisories to states, he added. On 20th January, the first case was reported in Kerala who returned from China, and for that case, only over 150 contacts were traced and investigated.
Vardhan also said compared to countries like Brazil and the USA, India has managed to keep the mortality rate down and there is a good recovery rate compared to these countries. Also, the number of tests has been the most, except for the USA.