The Society for Promotion of Science of Science & Technology in India (SPSTI), in association with Indian National Young Academy of Sciences and Chandigarh Chapter of the National Academy of Sciences, India with support from Haryana State Council for Science, Innovation and Technology has organized a series of talk on “All you want to know about Corona vaccine”. The third session of the series was conducted on “Need for vaccine and establishing its safety and efficacy” on February 05, 2021 at 2.00 pm through online mode. The session was attended by more than 85 participants on the zoom and about 293 viewed the same on the Facebook page of SPSTI.

The session steered with the introduction of the series by Prof. Keya Dharamvir, who gave a brief introduction of the series on “All you want to know about Corona vaccine”. Dr. Rifat John a gave the opening remarks and introduced the speaker, Dr. R.  Kumar, President, Society for Promotion of Ethical and Affordable Healthcare (S.P.E.A.K.), India and Medical Scientist, formerly at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

Dr. Kumar began his talk saying that as our lives have been disturbed as we are suffering from the vaccimania and its fears. He gave a brief introduction of the vaccine as an attenuated or killed infectious agent and corona vaccine is not a killed virus but is a genetic molecule that stimulates protein spikes like the against corona and causes antigen antibody response. He questioned if vaccines can banish CONID-19 from the globe and talk about both aspects of the situation. He explained that the Government of India has taken steps for mass vaccination to prevent infection and reinfection and with that he also focused on that vaccines may not be needed as coronavirus is dying its own death. He questions the need for mass vaccinations as the number of deaths due to corona is high in western countries but has fallen to just over 100 in India, so we need to see it from a different perspective than other parts of the world. In India the recovery rate is 97% and death rate is about 1.44%, which may further decrease. This death rate also includes co-morbidity, where it is claimed that after vaccination only the individuals with co-morbidity have died. The herd immunity in India is 21%, and for Delhi the figure is high as 62%. He further talked about the safety after vaccination and quoted soon after taking the vaccine there were 29 deaths in Norway and similar cases were reported in many other countries. Also, several deaths and hospitalization have been reported in India with cases of allergic reactions and adverse events after the jabs. After vaccination 19 deaths have been observed in India after jabs in a week. He said the long term side effects are still not known and studies needs to be done, for which at least 6 months will be needed. He discussed the effectiveness of vaccines as several studies mention that after 90 days of vaccination the number of antibodies falls and hence sustained protection needs to be studied further. He raised concern about the health of elderly people relating to the health issues they may face, if vaccinated.

He presented his opinion that who need vaccine still needs to be thought, as the health workers may have been immunized by repeated exposure to the virus, Norway has banned vaccination for elderly as a German study says it is not effective for people above age of 65, women have been found to be less vulnerable to infection, vaccines have not been tested on children hence they are already excluded and farmers and labors have robust health and plenty of innate immunity. He has an opinion that office goers who are working in crowded places, they might be considered for vaccination.  He said post-COVID need for a vaccine is higher as the second dose is recommended to boost immunity. As per report of lancet the individuals who had COVID-19 were found to have heart, lungs, brain or kidney damage. So, vaccines may prevent infection but does not prevent a sequel after the infection has occurred. He emphasized following social distancing, wearing and washing hands, but also advocated certain preventive measures to improve immunity. He suggested regular exercises including pranayama in morning and evening, adequate exposure to sunlight for vitamin D, good sleep, intake of plenty of water, healthy food and diet that minimizes inflammation, preferably Indian diet. He also advocated good mental health and keeping life free from anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, arrogance and doing good to others as some of the ways to keep ourselves healthy and boost our immunity.

The session was much appreciated by the audience and followed with questions about reasons for certain groups at high or low risk of getting infected with COVID-19, efficacy of vaccines for new variants, chances of reinfection and need to get vaccinated. Dr. Rifat John thanked the speaker as well as the audience. The last lecture in the series will be on 8th February 2021 and can be watched live at 2.30 pm on SPSTI Facebook page.

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