NEW DELHI: Ahead of rollout of the mega vaccination drive in the country on January 16, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged its 3.5 lakh members in 1,800 local branches to voluntarily get vaccinated first to show that the vaccines are safe and efficacious.
“IMA believes that vaccination is not only to protect individuals but also to bring herd immunity and thereby raising the hope to control the coronavirus pandemic,” the medical body said in a statement.
The statement from IMA assumes significance as it not only supports the credibility of the vaccine amid various concerns about safety and efficacy but also urges more number of people to come forward for immunisation, which is crucial to achieve vaccination.
“We stand with the scientists to ensure the safety and efficacy of both these vaccines… However, we appeal to the public that even after vaccination, to adhere to the Covid-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, hand hygiene etc,” it said in a letter to its members.
The government plans to inoculate three crore healthcare and front-line workers in the first round of the massive vaccination drive that aims to cover a total of 30 crore ‘priority’ population by July. After healthcare and front-line workers, the second priority will be given to people above 50 years age and those younger but with severe co-morbidities.
India has granted emergency use authorisation to two vaccines – Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s Covishield being manufactured by Serum Institute in India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.