Provide free Covid-19 vaccines as health emergency requires public funding, expert says, Health News, ET HealthWorld


Covid-19 vaccines must be provided free of charge because any public health emergency requires support from public finances, a prominent public health expert advocated on Sunday. Public Health Foundation of India Chairman Professor K Srinath Reddy also said that if “super-propagator” (large gathering of people) events are avoided and everyone starts wearing a mask , coronavirus cases will start to descend in India within three weeks.

“Vaccination should be free because any public health emergency, especially an infectious disease, requires public funding to support it as it is considered a public good,” Reddy told PTI in an interview.

“Almost all economists in the world agree on this. So there is no question for a country to charge for a public health emergency … people to buy (vaccines),” he said. -he says.

Reddy was of the opinion that if someone wants the comfort of going to a private hospital of their choice and getting vaccinated, they can pay a service charge there, but the vaccination itself should be free.

As he expects the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 to peak in India, Reddy, who previously headed the Department of Cardiology at the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said it depended on .

He said he does not believe in mathematical modeling to estimate and predict cases of Covid-19 infection because it does not take into account that India has both rural and urban areas which have different transmission rates.

Reddy also added: “I don’t take into account mathematical models that don’t take into account that we have to act. All models are only based on how the virus acts; not how we react. ”

“If we crack down on tomorrow, let’s prevent ‘super-spreader’ events with determination and everyone start wearing a mask outside, within three weeks you will start to see the cases decrease,” he said. declared.

“On the other hand, if you don’t do this and if you do it inefficiently, it can go on for several weeks.”

When asked if there would be a third wave of COVID-19 in India, Reddy said it could happen because even though the vaccination program is going very well, the virus can still stay with us under a softer shape and come back again.

Otherwise, other variants of the virus could emerge and constitute a third wave, said Reddy, who has been involved in several major international and national research studies, having trained in cardiology and epidemiology.

But he said it wasn’t fair to worry only about the third wave – whether it’s coming or not.

“If it’s not this virus, another virus may come. There may be the first wave of another virus. You have to strengthen your public systems and your hospital systems to support that,” Reddy said, who obtained a master’s degree in science. (Epidemiology) from McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada).

On COVID-19 case management, Reddy, who is currently an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard and is also an Assistant Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University and Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney said a large number of those infected can still be treated at home and that would reduce pressure on hospitals.

According to him, proper advice on how to take care of oneself at home should be provided to everyone through local community networks and mass media.

Primary health care centers can use citizen-volunteers to monitor home care people with oximeter and, if necessary, measure their blood pressure, and arrange emergency transport arrangements in advance. in case of deterioration of their state of health.

Hospitals that may have beds should be identified so that patients do not have to run from post to post.

The government should publish clear opinions on drugs for the treatment of Covid-19 infection, Reddy said.

He said drugs like Remdesivir have been taken off the WHO list because they have not proven to be helpful.

But there is a huge over-prescription of this drug and the “payoff” is going on.

“So the government should state unequivocally that this is not a drug that is approved,” Reddy said.


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