|Dr. Narendra Kumar Arora, Chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) in an interview to Department of Science and Technology’s OTT – India Science Channel, clarified various questions regarding Covid-19 vaccines and the misinformation surrounding it.
He said that vaccines go through intense scientific researches and none of the vaccines have a side-effect that could lead to infertility in the future.
Covid-19 vaccines and infertility
Speaking on misinformation surrounding vaccines causing infertility in humans, Dr. Narendra Kumar Arora said that a similar rumor spread when the polio vaccine was being administered in India and the World. “We should know that all vaccines go through intense scientific researches. None of the vaccines have this sort of a side-effect,” Dr. Arora explained.
Vaccines for children?
Dr. Arora said that Covaxin trials have been started on children aged between 2 – 18 years. “Trials on children are being done in many centres across the country. We should be getting the results by September to October this year,” he said.
Creating a caution, he informed that children may catch the infection, but they do not get seriously ill. However, children may become a transmitter for the virus. Hence, children also should be vaccinated.
Efficacy of the vaccine
Elaborating vaccine efficacy, the Chairman of NTAGI said that when we say a certain vaccine is 80% effective, it means that the vaccine reduces the chances of Covid-19 disease by 80%. If the efficacy of a vaccine is 80%, then 20% of the vaccinated people may contract mild Covid.
He further added that the vaccines available in India are capable of reducing the spread of the coronavirus. If 60%-70% of people are vaccinated, the spread of the virus can be checked.
He also added that the infection may occur even after taking both doses of the vaccine. But, in such cases, the disease will certainly be mild and the chances of a serious illness practically become nil.
Stressing that the vaccines have undergone rigorous tests, including clinical trials that are globally recognized, Dr. Arora said that people should take Covid seriously and get themselves vaccinated. As far as side effects are concerned, he said that all vaccines have mild side effects like mild fever, fatigue, pain in the injection site, etc, for a day or two. However, it does not cause any serious side effects.
Does no side effect mean the vaccine is not effective?
“Most people do not face any side-effect after Covid vaccination but it does not mean that vaccines are not efficient. Only 20%-30% of people are going to experience fever after vaccination. Some people may get a fever after the first dose and not have any fever after the second dose and vice-versa. It varies from person to person and it is highly unpredictable,” he said.
Is the second dose of the vaccine important to be taken?
Dr. Arora explained that after vaccination, the immunity developed which is known as T-Cells which possess memory power. Henceforth, whenever the virus tries to enter the body, the entire body becomes alert and starts to act against it. Hence, the second dose of the vaccine is extremely important to be taken by the individual.
Can the doses of two different vaccines be taken?
Speaking on this, Dr. Arora explained that since the manufacturing processes of different vaccines are different, their effect on the body is also not the same. The process of taking different types of the vaccine in two doses is called interchangeability. He said that the matter of interchangeability is an important scientific question and studies are in progress regarding it.
“This sort of interchangeability can be accepted or recognized only for three reasons: 1) It increases or betters immune power, 2) It eases the program of vaccine delivery; 3) Safety is ensured. But this interchangeability should not be propelled by the reason of scarcity of vaccines as vaccination is purely a scientific phenomenon,” he added.
He further said that research is necessary and efforts are being taken in this direction.