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Are Vaccine ‘Cocktails’ A Good Idea? Expert Explains

NDTV talked to Dr GC Khilnani, Chairman, PSRI Institute of Pulmonary Care to discuss the pros and cons of a vaccine cocktail

I think now there is sufficient data to prove that vaccine 'cocktail' gives enhanced immunity: Dr GC Khilnani

New Delhi: With the coronavirus outbreak continuing to leave a trail of devastation across the world, some pharma majors are also working on a ‘cocktail’ of vaccines in order to increase its potency. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan has said that mixing and matching the COVID vaccines is a “dangerous trend” that could lead to a disaster as there is very little data on its efficacy. NDTV talked to Dr GC Khilnani, Chairman, PSRI Institute of Pulmonary Care to discuss the pros and cons of a vaccine cocktail.

NDTV: What is your view on Vaccine Cocktail?.

Dr GC Khilnani: My views are based on data, studies, knowledge. A was published in the most reputable medical journal, The Lancet, on July 10, 2021, where 420 people who received Covishield, were given a second dose of Pfizer after 12 weeks. They found that these people’s immunity increased by 77-folds. Another data came from Canada, where they tried, 2 doses of Covishield on one group, 2 doses of Pfizer on another and one dose of Covishield followed by the second dose of Pfizer on the third group. It was found that Pfizer after Covishield gave 50-100 fold enhanced immunity.

I think now there is sufficient data to prove that this process gives enhanced immunity. It is also important to look at it from the Indian perspective since we are facing a vaccine shortage. We are hoping Pfizer and Moderna, which are mRNA vaccines, to hit the Indian markets. 90 per cent of Indian have received Covishield and are struggling to find the second dose. So, this information should be utilised to the advantage of India. If we get other vaccines, we can give those as the second dose and there is enough scientific evidence and data to show that this way an individual has enhanced immunity.

Also Read: Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Cut COVID-19 Risk By 91 Per Cent: Study

NDTV: Why is WHO warning against this process and saying there is not enough data?

Dr GC Khilnani: If we go to the history of COVID-19, WHO never approved Remdesvir, but doctors still used it to save lives. They even took a lot of time to approve the use of steroids in treatment. They have also not yet approved Covaxin, even though the phase three trials have been published in the peer-reviewed journal. So, in my personal opinion, they will eventually see the benefits and agree after scrutinising it thoroughly, as per their process. For now, we need to get more vaccines in the Indian market and utilise them accordingly.

NDTV: How do we know which vaccines to mix?

Dr GC Khilnani: We are not choosers at this moment, my thinking as a physician, is that numbers are important. Instead of vaccinating 89 lakhs people a day, we are only vaccinating 35-40 lakhs. To enhance it, we can use Pfizer or Moderna and improve our inoculation numbers.

NDTV: There are talks of a third booster dose in some countries and this has also sparked a debate, that the vaccines should go to countries with a shortage. So far CDC has said that it is not required. What is your take?

Dr GC Khilnani: This is not a debate at all. A third booster dose has to come and it comes for many diseases. The countries that have sufficient vaccines for their population can think of giving a third dose.

For a country like India, we need to first focus on completing the first two doses, which can give immunity for at least 210 days, as per the research. Beyond that, no one knows how long the vaccine immunity may last. Going by the history of other vaccinations that we know,  all the majority of vaccinations be it pneumonia, we know that booster shots are usually required to enhance immunity.

Also Read: COVID-19: Pregnant And Thinking Of Getting Vaccinated? Here’s What Government Guidelines Say About Safety, Side-Effects

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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