Faster vaccination one clear way of making sure that people are safe from COVID-19: Tata Group official
Faster vaccination of the population, with more vaccines from wider manufacturers approved with due process, is one clear way of making sure that people are safe from COVID-19, according a senior official of the Tata group.
The group is in the process of airlifting 60 cryogenic containers from overseas and building around 400 oxygen generating units that can be used by hospitals in smaller towns to aid combat the devastating second wave of the pandemic. It is also preparing cold chains in case a vaccine requiring low temperature for transportation is approved.
"I would say the faster and sooner we are able to get our people vaccinated, the better it would be because it is one clear way of making sure that our people are safe," Tata Sons President (Infrastructure, Defence, Aerospace and Global Corporate Affairs) Banmali Agrawala told PTI.
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Asked if India needs more vaccines from more manufacturers, he said, "Certainly. Whatever it will take for people to be vaccinated faster. But, of course, you have to do it safely. You have to do it after due precaution of whatever is the procedure that the authorities follow in terms of trials."
Agrawala further said, "But yes, if you have wider manufacturers, it makes life that much easier. The more the vaccines, maybe the easier it is to get all our people vaccinated."
Last month, India's drug regulator had granted permission for restricted emergency use of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V with certain conditions, to be imported by Dr Reddy's Laboratories, thus paving the way for a third vaccine to be available in the country.
In January this year, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had given the emergency use authorisation for two COVID-19 vaccines -- Covaxin of the Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca, being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in Pune.
On the other hand, from May 1, the government allowed vaccination of all persons above the age of 18. Earlier, it was restricted to only those above 45 years of age and frontline COVID warriors.
Stating that the Tata Group is readying itself to aid the vaccination programme, Agrawala said, "We are kind of getting prepared, including if we have a vaccine that needs some cold chain, we are getting prepared with that. Fortunately, within the group, we do have companies like Voltas. So, we are getting prepared."
Stressing on the significance of faster vaccination, he said moving ahead and getting prepared is going to be all about vaccination. "The only way to ensure that we can get back to work in a proper safe manner and go about life is always vaccination."
In the long term, Agrawala said, "There is no denying the fact for us to invest in healthcare infrastructure. It is crucial as a country."
By now, he added, it is pretty clear that the way the economy will grow and develop is directly linked with the country's ability to deal and manage COVID-19.
"If we manage it well, we have got a huge shot. If we are not, then we have got a challenge. It is directly proportional. The two things are linked but I think we can do it," he said.