The main lesson from the pandemic is climate change, and it all boils down to what humans have done to the environment, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today. Our lives are intertwined with the health of the environment, she added.
The vulnerable suffer a lot, like in the Pakistan floods. It can happen to any country, and it's important to focus on equity and help those who are left behind, she said.
She also stressed on the importance of a public health approach, having good data, and research.
On vaccines taking a toll on the body, she said the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.
"Vaccinology has saved many lives in the 20th and 21st century, and everything is a balance between life and risk. Similarly, for vaccines, safety is important and there is high bar regarding safety. There will be rare adverse cases, like 3-4 in a million," Dr Swaminathan said.
Speaking to NDTV, when asked about the validity of vaccines as many got infected with Covid even after taking booster doses, she said the doses prevent severe disease.
We are recovering quickly because of vaccines, she said, pointing out that over 13 billion people worldwide have taken the vaccine and 20 million lives have been saved due to it. The majority of deaths in the US were because of no vaccination, she added.
Dr Swaminathan further explained that vaccines are developed with high efficacy and safety. The virus is trying to evolve, and each time mutations have allowed the virus to evade antibodies, she said, adding that, "there are people who have not taken the vaccine and haven't fallen sick, but that's a matter of chance.
Commending India's vaccination efforts, she said the country has done a great job in vaccinating people.
"During the delta wave, many weren't vaccinated and that's why we saw the impact. Drugs helped in reducing severity and may prevent you from getting very sick. Booster dose is very important," she said.