Vaccine for all chorus grows amid rising cases of Covid

People line up for Covid test at Sarojini Devi Hospital in Hyderabad on Friday Photo: C Yadagiri Goud

Hyderabad: The ongoing drive to administer Covid vaccines to individuals above 45 years age has left a large cross-section of the population and even organisations frustrated.

Reputed organisations and even individuals have termed the Centre’s vaccine policy as ‘flawed’ and question the logic to vaccinate only individuals above 45 years whereas a younger demographic forms a major chunk of Covid infections and end up spreading the infection.

The statistics have shown that individuals between 11 years and 40 years form close to 59 per cent of the Covid infections in Telangana and also across the country. The younger age group (17 to 40 years) is usually most productive and often are the bread winners for families in India. And yet, Covid vaccines are not available to this age group.

Since the second Covid wave started to unravel, there has been a steady demand from individuals and organisations to open up the age group of eligible persons who can get vaccinated. In fact, experts cite the example of Israel, which has rolled-out Covid vaccines to all persons who are above 16 years of age. Recently, the President of United States, Joe Biden also moved up the eligibility target of all Americans to 18 years.

“Covid vaccination should be opened up to all the age groups and made available for longer time periods at the vaccination centres. The Centre must focus to increase the production of vaccines also,” the president of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Uday Kotak, said recently in a media release.

Interacting with press persons in New Delhi, the Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Dr Randeep Guleria had also said that there was a need to vaccinate more people and gradually open-up and cover people from younger age groups.

On its part, recently the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had written to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, urging to widen the eligibility criteria for receiving Covid vaccines. In its letter, IMA said that there was a need to include all adults in the vaccination programme and authorities must make vaccine certificates mandatory for individuals to enter any kinds of public places.

Despite the demand and pressure from various groups, the Union Health Ministry has maintained that vaccines will not be opened to all age groups. Interacting with press persons, senior MOHFW officials in New Delhi had said that ‘vaccines will be administered to individuals who need it and not those who want it”.

Every Shot Counts

  • Demand to vaccinate persons between 18 years and 40 years grows
  • Gradual ramp-up of vaccination, however, will create a lot of difficulties
  • Vaccines reduce mortality and severity, which at this juncture is important for priority age groups, maintains MOHFW
  • MOHFW says vaccines will be given only to those who need it

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