Hansal Mehta shares pic of son Pallava with Down Syndrome after govt's 'need, not want' comment on Covid-19 vaccines

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta has reacted to the Centre’s comment on ‘needing, not wanting’ the coronavirus vaccine with the example of his 25-year-old son, Pallava.

PUBLISHED ON APR 07, 2021 03:22 PM IST

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta took to Twitter on Wednesday to share a picture of his son, Pallava. The 25-year-old has Down Syndrome and suffered a ‘near fatal respiratory failure’ a few years ago.

Hansal’s tweet was in reaction the central government’s recent statement on the availability of vaccine and their ‘need, not want’ logic. “My son Pallava is 25 years old. He has Downs Syndrome. He has suffered from a near fatal respiratory failure a few years ago. Does he want the vaccine or does he need it?,” Hansal wrote in his tweet.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and chief ministers of several states have appealed to the central government to open vaccination for all people above 18. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan resorted to semantics in the health ministry’s briefing on Tuesday, saying “the aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it, but to those who need it”.

“It is a common question that is being asked these days that why are not Covid-19 vaccinations being opened for all; why can’t all adults be given it. To those, I want to say that Covid-19 vaccination drive is essentially meant to serve two purposes: to prevent deaths and the other purpose is to protect your health care system. In the middle of a pandemic, the main aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it. The most vulnerable in the country have to be protected, and that is what is being done globally also,” said Bhushan.

Many agreed that Hansal’s son indeed needs a vaccine, despite his young age, and a person pointed out that people with Down Syndrome are eligible to receive the vaccine. “Really? Please help me with the process and notification. Thank you,” Hansal replied to the person.

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It was reported that India will prioritise people with Down Syndrome for the vaccination, after the US’ centre for disease control (CDC) included those with the genetic condition on their list of ‘high-risk’ individuals. “We will propose to include the Down syndrome patients in comorbid (high-risk) category in the next meeting on vaccine strategy. Down syndrome is a co morbid condition in which patients have problems in their physiological functions. It will be good to include them in the priority group under nationwide covid-19 vaccination programme,” Dr Samiran Panda, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases division, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had told Mint.

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