“While no timeframe can be fixed for the second wave, a cautious watch is a must to ensure there is no second wave.” Stating that the present Covisheild vaccine would be helpless against such a wave, he said: “We are giving the vaccine to health workers who could have already been infected due to their nature of work. Most of them would have developed immunity, but if infected again by the SA variety then we will have real trouble on hands.”
ICMR director Dr Balram Bhargava recently revealed four persons who returned to India from the African continent were infected with the SA variant and quarantined.
‘Policy like one on polio needed’
Stating that coronavirus can be eradicated if the government creates a separate policy similar to the one created to eradicate polio, Jacob John said: “Any infectious disease can be eradicated. Also, with the pandemic now on the downswing, the government should act now by opting for targeted vaccination as the virus has entered the endemic stage which can last forever.”
Elaborating, he said: “It will be the first week of March before the effects of the vaccine given to frontline workers are realised. Meanwhile, a separate policy to eradicate it should be undertaken. To get the economy fully back on its feet, targeted vaccination should focus first on the elderly, next on those with co-morbidities followed by students and those in the industry before throwing it open to the public.”
Dealers returning Fabiflu tablets
Pharmaceutical dealers have started returning accumulated stocks of tablets like Fabiflu which were touted to fight the disease in the early days of the pandemic.
Fabiflu tablets, which first reached Vellore in June last and cost Rs 103 apiece, soon had a price drop to Rs 70. “There are now similar tablets which sell for as little as Rs 20,” said M Kalaiarasu a leading pharma distributor in Vellore. “However there are no takers as only a few private practitioners prescribe it,” he said.
Dr Jacob John said: “Such tablets will reduce the severity of the virus only if taken within 24 hours of the symptoms manifesting.”