Officials say they are fully prepared for any adverse reaction
With the dry run for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine being completed successfully, the district administration is all set to begin the programme as soon as it gets the nod from the Union Government.
"All the required infrastructure is in place and we have tested every component meticulously," said District Collector V. Vinay Chand.
However, apprehensions about the effectiveness and efficacy of the vaccine continue to linger.
Seeking to clear the air, District COVID-19 Special Officer and Principal of Andhra Medical College P. V. Sudhakar said that there is nothing to fear and that the apprehension that has crept in was due to unhealthy trade practices.
While one vaccine manufacturer said theirs was the best, another retorted by questioning the number of tests that the former had conducted.
"This led to a sense of apprehension regarding the efficacy of the vaccine with many people reluctant to get vaccinated," said Dr. Sudhakar.
However, the issue was resolved by the Union Government by calling both parties to the table and asking them to give a joint statement.
But according to him, globally around 200 pharmaceutical companies are developing the vaccine and 50 are in advanced stages. Ten have already developed their vaccine and have got it cleared by health regulators.
"All the vaccines that have been cleared are safe and there is no cause for worry. There may be minor side effects for a few, such as fever, shivering, itching and body pains, and those can be managed within 24 to 48 hours," he said.
The AMC principal further said that in the worst-case scenario, one out of a thousand or in a lakh may develop anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, which may include shortness of breath or choking sensation, and it may lead to respiratory failure. "But we are prepared for this scenario too, as each of the vaccine centres or session sites will be stocked with the life-saving antidotes such as adrenaline or hydrocortisone injections. But in general, reactions will be minimal," he said.
An adverse reaction to the vaccine is not the challenge facing the health department. The challenge is distribution of the vaccines.
The dry run has been successful and in the first phase, the health workers who comprise around 2 to 3% will be vaccinated. But the challenge will be from Phase II, as from this phase there will be a huge rush at the session sites.
Phase I will be a learning experience and we shall modify our plan accordingly for the next phases and overcome the challenges, said Dr. Sudhakar.
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