Vaccine Woes Continue - Eastern Mirror
Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Vaccine Woes Continue

By The Editorial Team Updated: May 12, 2024 10:08 pm

A fierce debate is raging about the side effects of Astra-Zeneca/Covishield vaccine that has been widely used to provide immunity against the deadly COVID-19 virus, since the pharmaceutical company acknowledged in a British court that it can cause Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) in rare cases. Notwithstanding Astra-Zeneca’s admission and efforts to withdraw the vaccines, the controversy is still ongoing; rather everyday new angles are being developed, deliberately ignoring the fact that the possibility of side effects in medicines cannot be completely ruled out. Through these developments, it appears that a conscious attempt is being made to dent public trust in vaccines, overlooking the fact that the benefits of vaccinations have outweighed the risks except for rare cases. There has been clear warning of potential side effects that may occur within a few weeks of taking the vaccine. If the ongoing hysteria about the side effects caused by Covishield is not immediately addressed, it may badly impact immunisation programmes which have already helped mankind eradicate a number of diseases and have provided immunity against many others.

The allegations about the side effects of the vaccines are not new. Whenever new vaccines are launched to offer immunity against certain diseases, apprehensions about its side effects have always been expressed. But the manner in which the campaign against Covishield is being carried out may have serious consequences on public health as vaccines are an essential part of providing immunity to people. No one can deny the role of vaccines in making the world almost polio-free. Vaccines have also helped us to keep away a few other fatal diseases including small pox. Moreover, it has been clearly stated that the COVID-19 vaccine may cause side effects in rare cases. The side effects can cause TTS and affected people have blood clots and low blood platelet count. The risk of people being affected by TTS is approximately four per million adults, according to the World Health Organisation(WHO). Thus, any effort to create a paranoia over immunisation programmes must be condemned.

It is quite unfortunate that the debate has taken a political colour in India, with the opposition parties targeting the government alleging that it wilfully overlooked the side effects of the vaccine. However, it must be remembered that the worldwide need of the hour during the pandemic was to save lives through vaccination. It must also be noted that India’s efforts to tame the pandemic earned praise from several quarters. Allowing this debate to continue will cause more harm than good for the country as one out of four children are still devoid of essential vaccines in India. Immunising them at the earliest should be our primary target. So without attaching any political twist to the debate, India should work to prevent any adverse opinions on vaccines and rather strengthen immunisation programmes.

By The Editorial Team Updated: May 12, 2024 10:08:02 pm
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