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WHO Issues New Guidelines for Vaccine by Moderna, while PM Modi Says More Vaccines to Come from India

This week, the World Health Organization released new guidance about Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine. It advised against the use of the vaccine during pregnancy except for those at high risk of exposure or having a severe case.

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization has issued interim recommendations for use of the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine against COVID-19 in people aged 18 years and older.

“In the interim, WHO recommends not to use mRNA-1273 in pregnancy, unless the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks, such as in health workers at high risk of exposure and pregnant women with co-morbidities placing them in a high-risk group for severe Covid-19,” the guidance said.

Research showed that pregnant women are at higher risk of having a severe case of Covid-19 than those who aren’t pregnant. The WHO further recommended that lactating women can take the vaccines.

The health workers at high risk of exposure and older people should be prioritized for vaccination. Persons who are HIV-positive are also at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts) recommended the use of the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine at a schedule of two doses (100 µg, 0.5 ml each) 28 days apart. The interval between the doses can be extended to 42 days.

The Moderna vaccine shows an efficacy of approximately 92 percent in protecting against COVID-19, starting 14 days after the first dose.

SAGE said that all who have taken the vaccines are to be observed for at least 15 minutes after vaccination. Those who experience an immediate severe allergic reaction to the first dose should not receive additional doses.

As per the evidence received, the new variants of SARS-CoV-2, including the B.1.1.7 and the 501Y.V2, do not change the effectiveness of the Moderna mRNA vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, said India has beaten all odds to battle the pandemic through a video conference at the World Economic Forum summit at Davos, on Thursday. He also pointed out that India has developed two coronavirus vaccines so far which have been exported to over 150 countries and the world would see many more ‘Made in India’ vaccines in the coming days.

“India faced many problems when Covid-19 came into existence. At the beginning of last year, several experts and organizations had made several predictions that India would be most affected by the pandemic. Someone had even said that 700-800 million would be infected and someone had said that over two million Indians would die from the pandemic. Looking at the condition of countries with better health infrastructure, the world was right in worrying about us,” he said.

PM Modi added that India has not only taken care of its citizens but also helped other countries by exporting PPE kits and masks. He also stated that India has started the world’s largest vaccination drive where it inoculated more than 2.3 million healthcare workers in just 12 days.

“In next some months, we will achieve our target of vaccinating 300 million elderly people and people with comorbidities. Today, India is sending its vaccine to several countries and is helping in developing the infrastructure for successful vaccination, thus saving lives of citizens of other countries. India has stressed a lot on reforms and incentive-based stimulus in recent times. Even during Covid, India has paced structural reforms in all sectors. These reforms are being supported by PLI-schemes”, PM Modi said.

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