Hyderabad: The arrival of vaccines for Covid-19 in India and the nation-wide drive to vaccinate people against this disease, is a welcome development but it should not be misunderstood by anyone that it is a licence to start partying, according to Dr Guru N. Reddy, senior physician and founder director of Continental Hospitals.
Dr Guru Reddy said there may be an impression that taking the vaccine for Covid-19 is a passport to freedom but the safe and wise action is to continue with wearing masks and maintaining physical distance.
“This requires to be followed until we achieve a 80 per cent herd immunity,” Dr Guru Reddy said. Herd immunity refers to a majority of the population developing resistance to a disease.
During an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, Dr Guru Reddy answered questions on Covid-19, safety and efficacy of vaccines and why he believes India got 'lucky' with the disease.
Are the vaccines safe? What are the reasons for apprehensions over taking the vaccine?
Simply put, when anything is new and untested it is natural for people to be apprehensive. In the West, the apprehensions are rooted in the unfounded fears that vaccinations lead to autism. In India, this is not an issue though awareness of autism in increasing here. We have to take a historical perspective, see the history of vaccinations over so many decades that have been absolutely safe, like the polio vaccine. We have to take refuge under this fact, believe and extrapolate that the Covid vaccines will be safe. Also their safety prospects are based on their development.
What are the important takeaways for India from its Covid-19 experience?
We have been just lucky from the standpoint of the percentage of people infected, the unusually low casualty rates. We have not had a second wave so far and the absence of variants of the virus has helped us. I also feel that the way we reacted to Covid-19 is because of our demographic dividend, we have a large number of younger people and I believe we have significant induced immunity. While herd immunity needs 80 per cent of people developing resistance, 60 per cent is not bad either.
What about the healthcare systems?
Covid has also brought in a significant awakening of awareness of healthcare infrastructure which has never been tested rigorously. Those responsible for governance have realised what state the healthcare was in. The private sector too realised that it was vulnerable. This has been a major awakening.
Another thing that has come to the fore is the cost of healthcare, something that our country always debates, unfortunately because the government washed its hands off this subject but laments that the private sector is charging a lot.
We have taken care of thousands of patients and there needs to be a better perception of what goes into taking care of patients. India also needs a strong third party payer system such as insurance companies or the government should pick up the cost....