The Indian Express | 6 days ago | 25-11-2022 | 11:35 am
A measles outbreak in Mumbai has raised concerns amongst the country’s public health authorities. The city has reported more than 200 cases in the past two months and at least 13 children have lost their lives. This is a big jump from the last few years — 10 cases and one death in 2021; 29 cases and no death in 2020; and 37 cases and three deaths in 2019. Other areas in Maharashtra, including Nashik and Yavatmal, have also been affected. By all accounts, the outbreak seems to have been precipitated by a backslide in the universal immunisation programme during the pandemic. According to the state government data, only 41 per cent of the eligible children have been inoculated against measles in Mumbai. Overworked public health professionals, including ASHA workers, have also had to combat vaccine hesitancy. Parents, reportedly, are showing a disinclination to continue the inoculation regime for their children after they developed fever on being administered the first jab. Such after-effects are par for the course. In the past, health departments in most parts of the country would anticipate the worries of parents and find ways to reassure them. The Mumbai outbreak indicates that the pandemic may have disrupted such efforts.In recent years, the Centre’s Mission Indradhanush project has improved vaccine coverage and reduced delays between shots. But WHO and UNICEF studies have shown that immunisation programmes — especially those focusing on DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) and measles — have taken a hit in low and mid-income countries, including India, in the past two years. Early in the pandemic, the National Health Mission’s information system reported that at least 100,000 children missed their shots because of the restrictions on movement. Anecdotal reports do indicate that India’s universal inoculation programme picked up during the later part of the pandemic. But measles is a highly contagious disease. Experts had cautioned that even a 5 per cent fall in the vaccination rate can disrupt herd immunity and precipitate an outbreak. The surge of the disease in Mumbai indicates that their fears are coming true.In the past week, a rise in measles cases has also been reported from Ranchi, Ahmedabad and Malappuram. The Centre has reportedly sent teams to help state health authorities frame control and containment measures. It has also rightly asked states to consider administering an extra dose of vaccines to children, aged five to nine, in vulnerable areas. But the time has also come to look beyond emergency measures and provide the country’s public health services its long-overdue boost. The gains of the Universal Immunisation Programme should not be overturned by health emergencies.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi used to warn people against taking the Covid-19 vaccine terming it `Modi vaccine’, but later got vaccinated himself secretly, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday has alleged.Shah also said that when he introduced the bill for abrogating Article 370, opposition leaders began to shout like crows in Parliament.Shah was speaking at Thasra town in Kheda district where voting will be held on December 5.“At that time (during the coronavirus pandemic), Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, through a tweet, used to warn people against vaccine saying do not take it because it is `Modi vaccine’ and it could harm you. But thankfully, no one takes him seriously nowadays,” the BJP leader claimed.After realising that everyone had taken it, he secretly got himself vaccinated “when no one was watching”, Shah said.“When Congress leaders were busy doing politics during the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi worked hard to keep the people of Gujarat safe,” he added.Modi, as chief minister, established peace in Gujarat, Shah said.“In Gujarat, Congress did nothing except making Hindus and Muslims fight each other. The BJP government eliminated riots in Gujarat. Such riots benefit neither Hindus nor Muslims. Such violence only hinders development,” the Union minister said.Riots took place often during the Congress rule, he alleged.
Targeting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in New Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that during winter he wished to be in Ahmedabad which had cleaner air compared to the national capital.Shah was addressing an election rally in Amraiwadi locality of Ahmedabad.“Ahmedabad was one of the top five most polluted cities during Congress rule. Narendra Modi brought CNG rickshaws and even provided loans. I live in Delhi. When it is winters, I wish to be in Ahmedabad, as I choke (in Delhi). Under AAP’s rule, the air in Delhi is not breathable and when you come here, you breathe in good air and in a good environment,” said Shah.“From December, India is going to head G-20. This G-2O will become a bog reason for the progress of India,” Shah added claiming that the country’s image across the globe has improved.He said state government in Gujarat is already planning to host Olympic Games in 2036.The BJP has worked a lot in East Ahmedabad and bridged the difference in infrastructure that it had with West Ahmedabad, the Union Minister added. He also asked local residents in Amraiwadi to call 20 people up in their area and ask them to vote for BJP.Addressing another election rally at Thasra in Kheda district, Shah said that neither Hindus nor Muslims benefit from communal riots“The Congress has no other work other than making Hindus and Muslims fight. BJP government ended communal riots in the state. Neither Hindu nor Muslims get any benefit from communal riots,” he said.During the rally, he alleged that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi used to warn people against taking the Covid-19 vaccine terming it “Modi vaccine”, but later got vaccinated himself secretly.Shah also reiterated that rioters were taught a lesson in 2002 by the then chief minister Narendra Modi.-PTI inputs
NETRANG (BHARUCH): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused that the Congress of not having respect for the tribal community and said that the party opposed candidature of Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election held earlier this year. He was canvassing for the BJP in Netrang, a tribal area of Bharuch district. Modi also said that the entire world was amazed at how India managed to come out Covid-19 pandemic in such a short span. "Congress has no respect for tribals in the country. When we proposed to make our tribal daughter (Droupadi Murmu) the president of the country, the Congress opposed it. We put all our might and made the tribal daughter win the election," Modi said. "Be it Birsa Munda or Govind Guru, the Congress never gave the due respect to the tribal leaders," he further alleged. The PM said the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in a big country like India was terrifying. "We faced the pandemic and came out of it. The entire world is amazed how we did it," Modi said. During pandemic factories were closed, people had to go back to their villages. "In such circumstances, our first concern was to provide enough food to poor people. We have been providing free ration to 80 crore people for the last three years," Modi said. He said that when many countries are still struggling to vaccinate their entire population, India has provided more than 200 crore doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine to its people. "After two doses, we provided a booster dose also free," Modi said.
Gandhinagar, Gujarat, November 18- Gujarat Biotechnology University (GBU), India’s first biotechnology university, recently announced the appointment of Dr. Subeer S. Majumdar as Director General. Dr. Majumdar is a well known scientist and leader, and has started in his new role this week (14 Nov 22). Other recent appointments were of Mr. Dilip Shanghvi, MD, Sun Pharmaceuticals as Chairman to the University and Mr. Sudhir Vaid, Chairman & MD, Concord Biotech as Chairman, Advisory Council.Dr. Subeer S. Majumdar’s research focus is on animal biotechnology, livestock genomics, therapeutic proteins, and transgenic animals. He did his Doctoral Research at the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi and has trained at the School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA and at the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh, USA. He is a fellow of all three Academies of Sciences, Tata Innovation fellow (DBT) and JC Bose fellow (SERB) and is a council member of INSA.Dr. Majumdar’s livestock genomics project delivered the ‘IndiGau’, the world’s largest SNP chip for cattle that can help conserve indigenous cow breeds with highly valued characteristics including heat, drought and disease resistance. The chip was released by Hon’ble Minister of Science & Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh in August 2021.A key achievement by Dr. Subeer’s group was a new technique of transgenesis, easing the development of humanized disease models. During COVID-19, Dr. Majumdar led a DBT funded One Health programme drawing together AIIMS Delhi, AIIMS Jodhpur, medical colleges in Chennai, Hyderabad, Meghalaya, ICMR regional centers, wildlife health providers, veterinary universities (IVRI, GADVASU, MAFSU, TANUVAS etc.), to address animal to human disease transmission.From 2016 to 2021, Dr. Subeer steered the development of the youngest DBT institute, the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad. Under his leadership, several kits to detect veterinary diseases have either been transferred or are in process of transfer to industries for commercialization. Based on this success, the PM Cares Fund entrusted NIAB with the responsibility of developing one of two vaccine batch testing facilities for Covid 19 in India, and this is now notified by the Drug Controller of India,Dr. Majumdar has achieved remarkable success in the production of therapeutic proteins in the milk of small animals using biotechnology, and is working on affordability and accesibility to the population at large in India. His lab developed technology around SARS-Cov2 virus which allows for rapid antiviral screening in a minimum biohazard environment.A member of various professional societies, advisory committees, national and international bodies, Dr. Subeer has also worked on multiple socio-economic projects. He has authored more than hundred papers, publications and books, and has filed five patents. Dr. Subeer says, “My aim is to ensure the implementation and execution of a growth-fuelled roadmap for Gujarat Biotechnology University.I believe that the commitment and support of the state government will definitely yield remarkable results soon, making GBU a globally competitive institution for manpower as well as resource generation”.The University delivers post-graduate programmes in five biotechnology domains - Plant Biotechnology, Animal Biotechnology, Environmental Biotechnology, Medical Biotechnology, and Industrial Biotechnology. GBU welcomed the first batch of MSc students in August 2022, and will soon launch PhD programmes.The Gujarat Biotechnology Policy 2022-27, unveiled this year, is likely to attract capital investment of overRs 20,000crore. The Gujarat government is all set to revolutionise the biotechnology sector, and the Gujarat Biotechnology University will be a pioneering catalyst to realise this vision.
Individuals who deal with anxiety are no less hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccine compared to those without anxiety, according to new research. The new study led by the University of Waterloo in Canada aimed to investigate the relationship between vaccine hesitancy, psychological factors associated with anxiety, and individuals’ reasoning for and against getting the vaccine.“People with anxiety difficulties were not more hesitant about the vaccine. Rather, the more discomfort they had with uncertainty, the less hesitant they were,” said Dr Christine Purdon, professor of Clinical Psychology at Waterloo in a paper published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.“The opposite was true of those without anxiety, suggesting that discomfort with uncertainty may be an important factor when addressing vaccine hesitancy,” Purdon added. To conduct the study, the researchers surveyed 148 participants with and without anxiety disorders. All participants completed an online questionnaire examining Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy along with other related variables such as conspiracy beliefs, individualism, and intolerance of uncertainty.They also surveyed the top reasons why individuals were motivated to get the vaccine and the top reasons why they were hesitant. The most common reasons that participants were hesitant to get the vaccine were related to the vaccine’s effectiveness and novelty, and fear of adverse effects. In contrast, the most frequent reasons that participants were motivated to get the vaccine were to protect others, to protect self, and to return to a sense of normalcy. The researchers found that anxious and non-anxious participants did not differ in vaccine hesitancy. However, discomfort with uncertainty predicted greater vaccine hesitancy in non-anxious participants, and in both groups’ vaccine hesitancy was predicted by individualistic worldviews, conspiracy beliefs, and a lack of trust in authority.The researchers hope that their findings will help aid in future research that continues to explore vaccine hesitancy and interventions to promote vaccine uptake.IANS