The Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu today urged the scientific fraternity to focus on expediting the development of COVID vaccine for children. He stressed that protecting children from the virus should be accorded priority.Shri Naidu emphasized that the vaccination drive against COVID-19 should become a pan-India ‘Jan Andolan’ and appealed to the people to immunize themselves by taking the required doses of the vaccine.Addressing scientists and staff of the Bharat Biotech International Limited after a visit to its plant at Genome Valley in Hyderabad, he said “there is no room for vaccine hesitancy”. Urging everyone to get vaccinated, he said “there is no other more powerful way to protect ourselves and people around us”. Shri Naidu also commended the development of a nasal COVID vaccine as an important initiative. It can reduce vaccine hesitancy and improve the ease of administering, he said.Asserting that advantages of vaccination far outweigh the perceived drawbacks, Shri Naidu said, this message should be driven home loud and clear to every nook and corner of the country. “ It is now clear that vaccination is preventing hospitalization and severe disease when infected”, he added.The Vice President also advised the media to educate the masses on the gains of vaccination. He also urged the leaders from the medical fraternity to educate the people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, along with shedding vaccine hesitancy.Cautioning people against becoming complacent by the temporary decline in COVID-19 cases, he said “let us be responsible citizens and not behave in a careless manner by violating Covid protocols”. He appealed to the people to continue with masking, physical distancing and personal hygiene.The Vice President also urged the leaders of various political parties and their followers to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. “It is the duty of each one of us to act responsibly. We cannot afford to invite the third wave” he warned.
Observing that the constantly mutating virus poses unforeseen challenges and forces us to find solutions that will save lives and protect livelihoods, Shri Naidu said “we have to individually and collectively contribute to this national and international effort”. He said that vaccine supplies must be stepped up rapidly and vaccines must be administered to all as quickly as possible.He, however, expressed confidence that the immunization drive would pick up pace in the months ahead and said the Government of India intends to vaccinate all eligible adults by the year-end.Lauding the scientists at Bharat Biotech for developing an effective vaccine in a very short time frame, he said “I compliment each one of you on this outstanding work. I appreciate the optimism and dynamism that Dr. Krishna Ella and Dr. Suchitra Ella have brought to this organization”, he added.Shri Naidu said that a few other Indian companies have also raced against time to produce COVID-19 vaccines, while some more are in the pipeline.Pointing out that India has earned global appreciation as the ‘pharmacy of the world’, he said that India is supplying over 50 percent of vaccines and is the largest producer of generic drugs. Indian pharma firms are also supplying over 80 percent of the anti-retroviral drugs globally to combat AIDS.Shri Naidu said that India’s domestic pharmaceutical market, estimated at US$ 42 billion in 2021, is likely to reach the US $ 120-130 billion by 2030.Expressing his happiness that Hyderabad has emerged as the hub for vaccines and bulk drugs, he said that he was pleased to note that it has also turned into a biotechnology hub with the Genome Valley driving the growth in this sector.He said that it was heartening that one of the recently sanctioned Central Drug Laboratories has been located in Hyderabad. Appreciating the encouragement provided by the State government which proposed the project, he said “to which I had lent my ready support”. Stressing the need to quickly ramp up our ecosystem support and health infrastructure, he expressed happiness that the Government of India, the state governments and the private sector have prioritized this critical need and initiated collaborative action.The Vice President, who went around the facilities of Bharat Biotech Limited, complimented the company for contributing significantly towards immunization programmes in India and around the world.The Home Minister of Telangana, Shri Mohammed Mahmood Ali, the Chairman & Managing Director of Bharat Biotech International Limited, Dr. Krishna Ella, Joint Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, Mrs. Suchitra Ella, Whole-Time Director, Dr. V Krishna Mohan and the heads of various divisions of Bharat Biotech attended the event.