Bangalore: A certain section of people may be hesitant to take COVID-19 vaccine. However, biotechnology industry veteran Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, said on Wednesday she will get vaccinated though its durability is not known as of now. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the executive chairperson of Bangalore-headquartered biotech major ‘Biocon’. She supported the unprecedented speed in taking the vaccine from the development stage to approval process.
“This is an unprecedented pandemic and extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” Mazumdar-Shaw told this agency Wednesday. “I think there is a need for regulatory speed to review and approve,” she added.
Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Pfizer have applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). They have sought emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
“Because of the urgency for the need for the vaccine, they (the vaccine makers) are focusing on safety and efficacy. However, they don’t have data right now on durability of response. Also data needs to developed if there is any, long-term side-effects,” Mazumdar-Shaw pointed out.
Mazumdar-Shaw has been named among the world’s 100 most powerful women by ‘Forbes’. It described her as ‘India’s richest self-made woman’. She contended that if one looks at the risk-benefit ratio, the risk of not approving a vaccine is far greater than the kind of problems associated with any side- effects.
“Safety and efficacy data is pretty good for all the vaccine candidates. The only question unanswered as of now is how long they will give protection,” she said.
“The risk of waiting to get the answer to the durability question is too high. Even if the vaccine gives protection for a short-time, it is worth it,” she argued.
“Right now, as a person, I am not concerned about safety and efficacy (of COVID-19 vaccine). I am more concerned about: Will it protect me long enough? If I were asked whether I will vaccinate myself, I will say ‘yes’; because whatever it is, I would like to at least protect myself,” she added.
Mazumdar-Shaw has more than four decades of experience in biotechnology. She underlined that there is a need to allay fears of people on safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. She also said vaccine hesitancy has to be removed.
“It is important to build that reliability and awareness saying that the vaccines are safe. Over time we will know how effective they are in terms of durability,” Mazumdar-Shaw pointed out.
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