Amid a huge spike in covid-19 cases, there has been an increasing demand to open vaccination for people of all ages. Recently, the US government also unveiled its plan to administer the Covid-19 vaccine to everyone above the of 16. However, the health ministry has cleared the air on the issue and stated that it will not be opened to all ages as of now. The aim of the vaccination drive is to administer the vaccine to those who need it and not to those who want it, the ministry said.
“Many people ask why we shouldn’t open vaccination for all. There are two aims of such vaccination drives — to prevent deaths and protect the healthcare system. The aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan while addressing a press conference on the current Covid-19 situation in the country.
The Health ministry’s remarks came after several state governments like of Delhi and Maharashtra sought a wider vaccination drive in order to curb the growing cases of coronavirus. Bhushan said even Western countries have conducted the vaccination drive in phases.
Reiterating that the COVID vaccines available in India are safe, the government urged the eligible people to get themselves inoculated as soon as possible.
“The primary aim of vaccination is to reduce mortality among the most vulnerable class of people. Why did we prioritise some groups over others? Because in this phase of vaccination (till around July), vaccines will be in limited supply. Hence we have to prioritise it to the most vulnerable sections of society and this is an established practice across the world,” Bhushan told news agency ANI.
India had started Covid-19 vaccination drive on 16 January with two vaccines – Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited). So far, more than 84 million people have been administered the Covid-19 vaccine.