The COVID-19 vaccine should be able to give good protection from the infection for eight to ten months, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria said on Saturday.

He also said that no major side-effect of the vaccine has been recorded.

The COVID-19 vaccine should be able to give good protection from the infection for eight to ten months and maybe, even more, Guleria said at an event organised by the IPS (Central) Association.

He said the biggest reason for the surge in cases is that people feel the pandemic is over and they are not following COVID-appropriate behaviour.

“There are multiple reasons for the surge, but the main reason is that there is change in people’s attitude and they feel coronavirus is over. People should still restrict non-essential travel for some more time,” the official asserted.

NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said the chain of transmission has to be stopped and for that vaccine is one tool but another is containment and surveillance strategy.

“Not following COVID-19 behaviour and laxity is major reason for the surge,” he said.

Responding to a question on vaccinating more people, Paul said the issue is vaccines are limited and that is why, prioritisation has been done.

“If we had unlimited supply, we would open the vaccination for everyone. That is the reason, not everyone, is getting vaccinated. Most countries in the world are not able to go beyond priority group because of this reason,” he said.

The NITI Aayog member also said that the highest mortality was seen among people with co-morbidities and older age groups.

“These people must not delay taking the vaccine. So the message is that they need it more than others. That is the reason they have been prioritised for getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.

Talking about the effectiveness of the available COVID-19 vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, Guleria said, “If we look at the two vaccines, they produce equal antibodies and are very robust. We should take the vaccine available to us because both are equally effective in terms of efficacy and long-term protection.

Over four crore people in the country have been vaccinated against the disease till now. Under the current phase of the inoculation drive, people above 60 years of age and those in the 45-59 years age bracket with co-morbidities, are being vaccinated.