Dr Ashish K Jha, the United States government’s Covid-19 response co-ordinator, said the rapid development and distribution of vaccines was a stunning achievement, noting that the Indian government, in particular, did an excellent job in this regard.
Speaking on Day 1 of the 20th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Dr Jha said, “… if you think about how India turned its situation around after the awful Delta wave, this massive ramp-up of vaccine production and a phenomenal vaccination campaign (helped). I will say it was one of the most impressive in the world.”
Asked about how vaccines may also evolve – to counter the newer Covid variants – Dr Jha said the second generation of vaccines were already proving more effective because they were targeted towards the Omicron variant.
“The question out there in vaccine world now is – ‘are we going to keep doing this… keep updating…’ If that is where we land, then that’s ok. That’s what we do with the flu vaccine every year… not a big deal. But my hope is we can start building vaccines resilient to evolving viruses… these can really prevent infections. Right now vaccines can prevent serious illnesses and are decent at preventing infections. But that doesn’t last as long as we want it to…”
“I think the current path is good but not good enough. We should be striving for more robust vaccines… but that is a year or two away,” he said.
The Covid-19 pandemic erupted in December 2019 – the first case was in China’s Wuhan – leading to uncertainty and lockdowns as the world struggled to come to grips with the deadly virus.
The Hindustan Times Leadership Summit was launched in 2003 to enhance the level of discourse on critical issues, encourage interaction among leaders in important areas and present international quality thought- platforms aimed at solutions. The last 19 summits have been outstanding successes with attendance by leaders from India and across the world. Over the years, the summit has become one of India’s most prestigious and eagerly awaited for.