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Study on vaccines’ effectiveness on Omicron underway: Mandaviya

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New Delhi: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday December 10 said in the Lok Sabha that the study on the effectiveness of the vaccines on the new Covid – 19 variant Omicron is underway and once the experts give their opinions, a decision on the booster dose will be taken.

He also said that the country trusts its scientists and the booster policy will go ahead based on their suggestions following appropriate research.

Responding to a question during the Question House in the Lower House, he also said that the Omicron surfaced on November 1 and on November 24 this was reported in South Africa. The new variant has been found in 59 countries so far and every country has been studying the effectiveness of the existing vaccines.

“We have initiated a study immediately and as of now, there are 36 labs in India where the ‘Genome Sequencing’ has been done. These labs can do 30,000 genome sequencing every day and also we have been trying to tie up with private labs to increase the capacity,” Mandavia informed the House.

Responding to the question of Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) MP N. K. Premachandran, the Minister further said, “We all want the country to achieve 100 per cent vaccination and we all (MPs) should make people aware about getting vaccinated.”

He also said that India has done “best” while comparing the vaccination rates to other countries as ‘our country has completed 86 per cent of the first dose’. He also requested all stakeholders to participate in getting the vaccination drive faster as soon as possible.

Replying to a question asked by the BSP Member Ram Shiromani Verma about the impact of Omicron on children, the Health Minister said that the study on Omicron is underway and once the experts give their opinion, the government will decide on vaccination for children below 18 years.

Mandaviya also informed the House that there are 23 cases of suspected Omicron under observation, and the expert teams have been interacting everyday on the response and treatment and they are also studying the hospitalisation status of other countries where this new variant has been reported in large numbers.

Responding to Premchandran’s query on Kerala Covid status, the Minister also said that he also visited the state personally when over 30,000 cases were reported and also sent an ‘expert team’ to the state and visited many hospitals and suggested the state government to take various containment measures, therefore, the health protocol and guidelines issued by the Health Ministry from time to time must be followed to arrest the Covid 19 cases at low rate.

Replying to a question of Congress MP Manish Tewari, who wanted to know whether any study has been made on the side-effects of the Covid 19 vaccination, the Minister said that no such study has been made so far. He also explained that with “great difficulties, the people have come out from vaccine hesitancy, so we do not want to get a study as of now barring some exceptional cases. We want to get the vaccination of all eligible populations with both doses as soon as possible,” he added.

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