India has recently completed giving one billion Covid vaccine jabs to its citizens. Following the milestone achievement, the World Health Organization (WHO), and several other countries congratulated India and lauded the nation's effort to contain the Covid pandemic. And now, vaccine expert Dr Gagandeep Kang has said that the vaccination rollout in the country will face challenges in the coming days.
Crucial days for India
Gagandeep Kang revealed that the position of India is better than several other countries when it comes to giving vaccination to its population. However, she made it clear that India could face several challenges in vaccinating the remaining population, as they will be reluctant to receive the jabs due to one reason or the other.
"When compared to the rest of the world, India is in a very good position. However, it's going to get tougher from this point now. First, 10, 20 or 70 percent is easy but the last 10, 20 percent is harder to do because here you are talking about the population that is difficult to reach (or convince) because of one or the other reason or they are the one with highest level of vaccine hesitancy. We still have a long way to go. It is time to celebrate but also the time to prepare for what comes next,'' said Kang, a professor with The Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Christian Medical College, in an exclusive interview with News18.
The dilemma surrounding vaccination drive for children
Until now, the Indian government has decided to vaccinate people only above the age of 18. It is still unclear when the vaccination program for children will begin. Addressing this issue, Kang said, "There should be clarity on why we want to vaccinate children and with which vaccine."
Kang also added that wise decisions should be taken while choosing the vaccine for children.
"Should we use inactivated virus vaccines or should we wait for mRNA vaccines. There are many questions we need to deliberate on and answer appropriately. We don't know enough about the performance of these vaccines yet. Right now, we don't have enough data to make informed decisions. Why do we want to vaccinate when the severity of disease and death is practically zero among children? If there were a high risk of catching the disease, I would have recommended using any vaccine for kids but that's not the case. We might have some choices available soon and with fewer cases around, we should wait until we get better vaccines," asserted Kang.
Kang also warned that mRNA vaccines could result in myocarditis among young males. The vaccine expert also made it clear that Covid infection has now reached an endemic stage, and it will continue like this until the day a new variant comes up following the mutation.