What Exactly is a Backup Vaccine?
In an interview with The Quint, Dr Randeep Guleria, director, AIIMS, said Covaxin’s approval was a backup vaccine in case of a virus surge. Covishield will remain India’s go to vaccine till Bharat Biotech completes phase 3 trials and proves efficacy.
Dr Balram Bhargava, chairperson for ICMR, gave a similar defence.
But to Dr Bhargava, Dr Guleria and the Health Minister, our question is simple. What is a backup vaccine? Either the vaccine is efficacious or it isn’t. And if its efficacy is under question, presumably because of which it remains a backup, why would you deploy it during a surge?
Would it not defeat the purpose? Isn’t it prudent to give vaccines to avoid a possible surge, and not wade in with inconclusive experimental vaccine when people’s lives are at risk?
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute, the manufacturer of Covishield in India, said in an NDTV interview, “There are only three vaccines in the world that have proven efficacy… it’s…