‘Debunking myths against Covid-19 vaccination to save population from pandemic’

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ISLAMABAD, MAR 16 (DNA) – The Covid-19 should be taken as an awakening call to change our priorities at national level, especially by investing more to improve our healthcare system. This priority shift is the only way forward to revive the economy and ensure that our population is staying safe.

Dr Javed Akram, Vice Chancellor, University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore, said this while sharing his views as a key speaker at the webinar ‘Myths and Misconceptions about Covid Vaccine’ organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), as a part of its campaign ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe’ here on Tuesday. 

Dr Akram on the occasion presented a detailed account of various vaccine trials conducted in Pakistan udder several collaborated efforts including 3 clinical trials with 18000 volunteers. He further said that (Z-F 2001) which is a discovery of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is also under trial whereas the Sputnik, Russian vaccine is also in the pipeline.

“We are also working on the mutation and variants of the virus and keep the data updated on University of Health Sciences mutation browser on daily basis,” he said while explaining that we are also doing trials on Chemosatate, which is a post exposure test. Pakistan is among the 23 countries where trials have conducted. It is welcoming that our initial trials have shown good efficacy results.

He added further that many of the countries in the world are eying at getting their 75% of the population vaccinated to stop the local transmission. However, it is a big ask for the country like Pakistan with 220 million population.

While debunking various myths about the vaccination, Dr Akram said that it is untrue that vaccine change our DNA or cause cases of male Impotency. He further said that RNA vaccine is safe for the pregnant mothers and even the Hepatitis A, B, C, AIDS, and cancer patients should be vaccinated.

“Once you are vaccinated, it takes 28 weeks to create the anti-bodies neutralizing effects,” Dr Akram said and added further that the vaccines as a huge blessing for the humanity and we need to take full advantage of it. Dr Akram noted that emphasized that the recovered patient should also take vaccine, because the vaccine targets the binding sites of the viruses.

He emphasized that the vaccine politics must be redressed with stern efforts as creating misconceptions about the vaccines may have adverse effects on our economy but also for our people.

Dr Akram opined that despite of virus variation and virus mutations, vaccine will stay effective which targets the spikes (S-glycoprotein) of the virus, so even if the virus mutates, it will not get attach to our bodies. He said that it is commendable to observe that elderly persons in Pakistan are being vaccinated on the priority basis.

In response to various questions, Dr Akram said that there is no authenticity in the fact that private sector has acquired the vaccine yet. However, the government should allow the private sector in a limited scale to import the vaccine. The DRAP should declare it an essential medicine and fix its price to avoid any profiteering.

He informed the participants that the government is involved in the vaccine passport with the NADRA and soon a mechanism for this will be in place. He said that the chemotherapy patient can take the Covid-19 vaccine, but it should not be taken in the first three days after their chemotherapy.

Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, while summing up the discussion said that as it has been the case with Polio Vaccination campaign, several misconceptions about the Covid-19 vaccination including about its side exist widely in the society.

“The same old anti-vaccine mindset that persists in Pakistan need to be responded with the right flow of information to avert the damage it may render to the Covid-19 vaccine,” DR Suleri emphasized.

He added further that the definition of frontline workers against the pandemic should also be widened to include other key players such as police, journalists and others that are performing the essential services while being at risk themselves.=DNA

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