Fertility concerns surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines aren’t exclusive to women. Men are worried, too. The chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), Dr. Narendra Kumar Arora in an interview to the Department of Science and Technology’s OTT – India Science Channel clarified few myths and fears about the vaccine.
He informed we are soon going to have the world’s first DNA-plasmid vaccine by Zydus Cadilla which has been Made in India and the other vaccine that we can expect soon is Biological E – a protein sub-unit vaccine. He further informs that the trials of these vaccines have been quite encouraging.
“We are hopeful that this vaccine will be available by September. The Indian m-RNA vaccine which can be stored at temperature 2 – 8 Degree Celsius should also be available by September. Two other vaccines namely Novavax by Serum Institute of India and Johnson & Johnson may also be expected soon. By the third week of July, the production capacity of Bharat Biotech and SII are going to be increased phenomenally. This will enhance the vaccine supply in the country. By August, we expect to procure 30-35 crore doses in a month”. Dr. Arora says that this will enable us to vaccinate one crore persons in a day.
The Chairperson spoke on these and various other facets of India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, in an interview to Department of Science and Technology’s OTT – India Science Channel.
How effective are the new vaccines going to be?
When we say a certain vaccine is 80% effective, it means that vaccine reduces the chances of COVID-19 disease by 80%. There is a difference between infection and disease. If a person has contracted COVID infection but is asymptomatic, this person only has an infection. However, if the person has symptoms due to the infection, this person has COVID disease. All vaccines in the world prevent COVID disease. There is very little chance of severe disease after vaccination while the chances of death after vaccination are negligible. If the efficacy of a vaccine is 80%, then 20% of the vaccinated people may contract mild COVID.
The vaccines available in India are capable of reducing the spread of the Corona Virus. If 60%-70% people are vaccinated, the spread of the virus be checked.
The Government started the COVID immunization drive by vaccinating the elderly, in order to vaccinate the most vulnerable population first and thus reduce casualty and the burden on our health services.
There is a lot of mis-information regarding the COVID vaccine. Could you please clarify?
Recently, I travelled to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and spoke to people in both urban and rural areas in these states to understand issues of vaccine hesitancy. Many people mostly from rural areas do not take COVID seriously and confuse it with normal fever. People need to understand that COVID may be mild in many cases. But when it takes a severe form, it may become a financial burden and may also lead to loss of life.
It is very encouraging that we can protect ourselves from COVID through vaccination. We must all firmly believe that COVID-19 vaccines available in India are completely safe. I assure every one that all the vaccines have undergone rigorous tests, including clinical trials that are globally recognized.
As far as side-effects are concerned, all vaccines have mild side-effects. This includes mild fever, fatigue, pain in the injection site, etc. for a day or two. It does not cause any serious side-effects.
When children get their regular vaccines, even they show certain side-effects like fever, swelling etc. The elders in the family know that the vaccine is good for the child despite side-effects. Similarly, it is time for the elders to understand that the COVID vaccine is important for our family and our society. Hence, mild side- effects should not deter us.
Do vaccines cause infertility?
When the polio vaccine came and was being administered in India and other parts of the world, this sort of a rumour had spread at that time too. At that time, a misinformation was created that children who are getting polio vaccine may face infertility in the future. This sort of wrong information is spread by the anti-vaccine lobby. We should know that all vaccines go through intense scientific researches. None of the vaccines have this sort of a side-effect. I would like to fully assure everyone that this sort of propaganda only misguides people. Our main intention is to save ourselves, family and society from corona virus. So, everyone must come forward and get vaccinated.