Kathmandu, Apr. 8: The government on Wednesday started administering China’s Vero cell COVID-19 vaccine. The Ministry of Health and Population has announced that at least 400,000 people would be vaccinated with the vaccine. While the government is striving round the clock to procure and import vaccines, the general public is in confusion regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines, as the government has warned against the second wave of the pandemic. Meanwhile, health experts have been voicing that effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines is still unknown to the world and everyone must continue following the preventive measures against the virus. Dr. Jhalak Sharma Gautam, Chief of the National Immunisation Programme, said, “Those who have been inoculated with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine may contract the virus. Thus, everyone must remain alert and abide by all the government-prescribed safety measures.” No vaccine developed against the virus is one hundred per cent effective. The Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India is 70 per cent effective, while China’s Vero cell is 80 per cent. “Thus first dose of vaccine reduces the risk of infection, however second jab is mandatory,” said Dr. Gautam, adding, “The vaccine helps in preventing the infection from becoming fatal and somewhat aids in controlling the spread. However, those who have been vaccinated must continue to adopt measures to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 infection.” Likewise, Dr. Anup Bastola, spokesperson for Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku, said, “ It has not been even a year since the COVID-19 vaccine was introduced to the world. Also, researches on the vaccine are
ongoing and new findings are being revealed every day. Thus, the hard and fast effectiveness of the vaccine cannot be ascertained yet.” “The vaccine enables our immune system to fight the infection. But those who have been vaccinated can still be the carriers of the virus, meaning that the virus can be transmitted to someone who has not been inoculated from someone who has already received the jab,” Dr. Bastola said, adding that everyone, vaccinated or not, must remain alert and continue wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining physical distancing. Similarly, Dr. Shyam Raj Upreti, coordinator of the COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee, also stressed opting for health safety protocols to avoid contracting the virus. Moreover, in the fact sheet for vaccine recipient issued by manufacturer Serum Institute of India, it has been mentioned that as per the clinical trials, the Covishield vaccine has shown to prevent COVID-19 disease following two doses given four to 12 weeks apart. “One may get protective immune response four weeks after the second dose of Covishield vaccine. However, the duration of protection against the pandemic is still unknown,” read the fact sheet. Dr. Gautam further informed that the second dose of Covishield vaccine would be provided to the frontline health workers, journalists, government and private officials, and senior citizens from mid-April. “Recipients of the first dose of Covishield vaccine must receive the same vaccine in the second dose. Thus, we have made arrangements to provide vaccination cards of different colours to those receiving Covishield and Vero cell,” he added.