As the country battles the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) top doctor explains how vaccines work against the virus. While speaking exclusively to Republic Media Network, the head of ICMR's epidemiology division, Dr. Samiran Panda said that it has been proven in the tests that the vaccines are equally effective towards new mutant B.1.617. He also advised that India needs to speed up the process of vaccination to combat the spread.
Dr. Panda further added that the burden on the healthcare system will reduce if vaccination process is ramped up.
"We need to spped up the vaccination process, that will surely reduce the burden on the healthcare system. The good news is that both these vaccines were tested after collecting it from vaccine recipients and it was found that they did not only neutralize the old strain, but also the newer strains. Here, however, I would like to underline that it is not just about neutralizing antibody, but also to give self mutated immune arm," added Dr. Samiran Panda.
Dr. Panda further urged citizens not to worry about circulating strains, leave behind hesitancy around vaccine and move ahead. According to Dr. Panda, if the vaccination process speeds up, the current chain of spread can be broken.
When asked about how the vaccines work if a fully vaccinated person comes in contact with virus, the doctor answered that sometimes certain errors lead to virus infection even after the infected person has taken the vaccine. He continued that the new mutants of COVID-19 virus spread faster, however, vaccines can prevent them from reaching to severe levels. He concluded by saying that since vaccines are infection preventive and not disease modifying, COVID-19 protocols need to be followed after taking vaccination as well.
"Its a transmission efficient mutant and survives in living cells, this mutant spreads fast. The vaccines are disease modifying vaccines so even if someone has been infected then the vaccine will be able to help in not transferring in severe conditions. Remember, these are disease modifying vaccines not infection preventive vaccines so follow protocols," said Dr. Panda.