By Shalini Bhardwaj
New Delhi [India], October 21 (ANI): As India achieved the landmark of inoculating 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Balram Bhargava said that the decades worth of experience gained through the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) helped the Union Health Ministry go forward with the vaccination drive rapidly.
"Years of experience that the Health Ministry gained via the Universal Vaccination Programme helped them proceed with the COVID-19 vaccination drive at such a rapid pace. The prioritisation and nimbleness displayed by the ministry during this entire drive are commendable," stated Dr Bhargava.
Congratulating the countrymen and every stakeholder involved in the vaccination programme, Dr Bhargava said, "Since India has over one-billion people, we have contributed to protecting one-seventh of the global population. The entire world should gain protection against COVID. No one is truly protected until everyone is protected and we have to take care of this," he added.
The ICMR DG further noted that even though the accomplishment of administering 100 crore vaccine doses is commendable and worth celebrating, there should be no space for complacency until the entire adult population is vaccinated.
On Bharat Biotech's Covaxin awaiting the World Health Organisation's approval, he said, "WHO is following all scientific processes. All the data was submitted to them. We have more than 15 publications on Covaxin variants. I am optimistic that approval will be given after following all the processes."
World Health Organisation (WHO), which is reviewing the data provided by Bharat Biotech for Emergency Use Listing of COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, said on Monday that it is "expecting one additional piece of information from the company today".
WHO chief scientist on Sunday informed that the organisation's technical advisory group will meet on October 26 to consider emergency use listing (EUL) for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.
After the evaluation of data, Covaxin is yet to get approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for the vaccination of children between 2-18 years old. Speaking on the issue, Dr Bhargava said that the work is ongoing on the matter.
"During the fourth serosurvey, not only did we find out that 67 per cent of adults have antibodies to fight COVID-19, but children also have 50-55 per cent antibodies to fight COVID-19. So they are also well-protected," he added.
The fourth edition of the national serosurvey was conducted in 70 districts in June-July and included children of 6-17 years of age and the survey found the overall seroprevalence of India to be 67.6 per cent. (ANI)