Trying to develop herd immunity against COVID-19 in the absence of established pharma interventions may have disastrous consequences in terms of morbidity and mortality, said Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health in the Rajya Sabha.
In a written reply, he said in the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries that thought of developing herd immunity through a natural process of allowing the disease transmission had very high morbidity and mortality and therefore, “had to abandon the strategy”.
The minister was responding to a question on whether state governments are following herd immunity measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The Ministry of Health has issued plans, procedures, advisories, and SoPs to the state governments for containment of the pandemic which is based on the strategy of breaking/suppressing the chain of transmission, Choubey highlighted.
“Development of herd immunity essentially means allowing the virus to run through the population. In the absence of established pharma interventions, this may have disastrous consequences in terms of morbidity and mortality,” he underlined.
Elaborating on the measures being implemented by the government to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, Choubey said public health actions were taken in a pre-emptive, pro-active, graded manner based on the evolving scenario.
Besides, more than 30 vaccine candidates have been supported which are in different stages of development and three candidates are in an advanced stage of phase I, II and III trials and more than four are in the advanced pre-clinical development stage.
A National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 has been constituted on August 7, under NITI Ayog. Thirteen clinical trials of repurposed drugs have been undertaken to build a portfolio of therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients, Choubey said.
(Edits by EP News Bureau)