Why widespread vaccination of the population of India is not needed.
With 1.4 Billion people, India has the second largest population in the world, and some of the largest and most densely populated urban areas. Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai each have over 20 million inhabitants. In the time of COVID19, the congestion of hundreds of Indian cities would seem to offer a perfect storm for the virus to infect hundreds of millions of people. Indeed the main stream media have repeated the description of COVID “ripping through India”.
It is not possible for much of the population to social distance in crowded urban areas. It is also not possible to put the country into extended lockdowns like those imposed in Europe, without also creating mass starvation in a population dependent on a daily wage. There have been warnings that the already challenged Indian health would collapse under the soaring increase in mortality.
And yet, this hasn’t happened. In proportion to the size of the population, the numbers of deaths from COVID19 remain small, and those most affected are the very old, with more than a 99.5% recovery rate in those under 75 years old. In a population of 1.4 Billion, almost 11 million reported cases there have been only 155,360 deaths ascribed to COVID19. We don’t need to repeat that every death is a tragedy, but it’s important to keep a sense of proportion. COVID19 has not “ripped through India”, India has fared very well so far, especially when compared to Europe.
If India already had widespread natural immunity conferred by exposure to previous corona viruses, does the country need to vaccinate their entire population as is being suggested, especially when research shows that natural immunity lasts significantly longer than vaccine conferred immunity. When the vaccines in question are experimental, with limited data on whether they prevent infection (apparently not), or transmission (apparently not) or long term adverse effects (at this stage unknown), it would seem profoundly unethical.