Time to consider vaccine options

Across the world the countries are making efforts to start vaccination for Covid-19.

Recently, European Union member states, including France, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Spain, launched mass inoculation programmes, with many countries starting with healthcare workers. Vaccinations en bloc began on Sunday following approval of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine by the European Medicines Agency shortly before Christmas.

Similarly, countries like Britain, the US, China, Russia, Canada, etc, have also started vaccinating their citizens. The whole world is making an effort to vaccinate their citizens to protect them from Covid-19.

But in India, still now there is no clarity over the vaccine. There are a few vaccine candidates, but they are yet to get approval to roll out their vaccine. India is largely hoping for the Oxford coronavirus vaccine. It is being developed by AstraZeneca and the Oxford University. Pune-based vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) will be producing the Oxford vaccine in India. The chief executive of AstraZeneca recently told British daily The Sunday Times that the Oxford coronavirus vaccine will “protect 95 percent of patients” and is “as effective as Pfizer and Moderna.” However, they are yet to release data confirming these claims.

The other vaccines being considered for India are the ones by Bharat Biotech and Pfizer. While Bharat Biotech is still conducting Phase 3 trials, Pfizer is yet to submit its data. India has one of the largest Covid-19 cases and is way behind the rest of the world in terms of vaccine. This does not augur well. The government should explore all vaccines available in the market and use it to protect the citizens.