The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology met today under the chairmanship of Congress Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh.
The issue for discussion involved axing development for Covid-19 and genetic sequencing of Coronavirus and its variants.
Sources say that it was a dramatic start to the meeting when the BJP MPs demanded that the issue of vaccination should not be discussed in this meeting given the fact that a massive vaccination drive is underway in India and any information going out can lead to a lack of confidence among people with regard to the vaccine and can also result in bringing about vaccination hesitation.
Ramesh and the others however argued that the said authorities have in the past come and briefed various committees what is the progress of India’s vaccines.
Deliberating on the issues of vaccination the government said that vaccine trials for children are at an advanced stage, the results of which are likely to out by August.
They also said that at present there are nine vaccine candidates at different stages of approval and that no other country in the world is working on developing such a broad bouquet of vaccines.
The govt also addressed the issues regarding the gap in doses of Covishield saying that global data shows that the Astra Zeneca (Covishield) vaccine develops a good amount of antibodies after the first dose of vaccine and optimal response is there if the gap is increased.
This apprehension of the BJP comes from the fact that Congress has constantly attacked the government for its Covid mismanagement and even accused the government of giving out misleading data.
It is being said that only after the assurance by Ramesh, the BJP members came back to the meeting and the meeting resumed.
Those present in the meeting included officials from the health ministry and Icmr is Dr. Balram Bhargava. Dr VK Paul Who was to attend the meeting had informed the committee about his unavailability today due to a certain urgent commitment.
Members asked questions about the procurement of vaccine availability and what was the data to support the genetic sequencing that the government has been constantly talking about.
According to sources, while India has registered more than 84 lakh vaccines on day one of the mass nationwide vaccination drive, the last two days have seen more than 50,00,00 vaccines being administered.
The committee on record put in their appreciation of the efforts of the scientist who helped in developing this vaccine in record time.