The government never spoke of vaccinating the entire country as and when a vaccine for coronavirus is approved, heath secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday, December 1. The centre had earlier prepared a priority list, which included nearly 1 crore healthcare professionals, security personnel, people above the age of 50 years and those below 50 with co-morbidities.
"The government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country," Bhushan said on Tuesday.
"I want to make it absolutely clear. I repeatedly say that before discussing the topics related to science, it would be good to know the factual information about it and then analyse it. So the vaccination of the whole country was never spoken of," he said.
Bhushan, at a press meet, said that the goal is to work towards a critical mass of vaccinated people that would break the chain of transmission.
Three days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited three key facilities that are working on a vaccine to get a "first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India's endeavour to vaccinate its citizens".
Dr Balram Bhargava, the chief of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also said, "If we are able to vaccinate critical mass of people and break the virus transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population".
When asked whether people who contracted the virus will be vaccinated, Bhushan said it is a matter of discussion across the world whether people who once contracted coronavirus and have antibodies will need it.
"Many other nations are looking into whether they need to deliberate when one has already developed antibodies from a prior COVID infection before vaccinating him. Does he have enough antibodies? There has been no final decision on this. But this is a topic of discussion among the scientific community and other nations," Bhushan said.
In India, the total number of people who have been infected with the deadly virus has crossed the 94.62 lakh mark.
However, the ICMR's second national serosurvey has revealed that roughly seven per cent of the country's population aged ten and above have been exposed to the virus by August. This equals to an estimated 74.3 million people.