- The Union Government’s decision allowing 18 years and above to receive the vaccine for the SARS-Cov-2 is a welcome strategy in the vaccination drive to cover as many multitudes as possible from the dreaded virus. Looking at the alarming spike in the confirmed infection rates over the past couple of weeks would send a shiver down the spine of every single individual concerned with safety and health. And the only option available to ensure the population receives a protection shield is to vaccinate at the earliest. By extending the benefits of vaccines to young adults, the Government has opened the drive wisely to cover this critical age group as well.
PC: Suchitra Karthikeyan
- The opening also denotes the Government recognizing the merit in facilitating a private market for vaccines rather than controlling the distribution through a centralized mode of operations. In a laudatory move, it has allowed 50% of the vaccine supply for the use of state governments, employers, and private hospitals to procure directly from pharms companies. This eases the supply pressure on the Central Government as well as comfortably addresses the state government’s accusations of not supplying the required amount of vaccine vials for inoculation purposes. We are aware of the teething glitches associated with the supply side of the vaccine.
- To ramp up the vaccine production to meet the humongous demand to supplement the opening of age categories of beneficiaries, the Central Government has loosened purse strings by sanctioning advance funds to the tune of Rs. 3,000 crore to Serum Institute of India and Rs. 1,500 crore for Bharat Biotech. These refreshing decisions come on the back of granting green signal to all foreign vaccines for local usage that have credibly passed Phase 3 trials and duly approved by the respective regulators as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). More vaccine candidates will prove to be of immense help for the country’s health needs.
PC: Ian Schofield
- In totality, these measures carry the wherewithal to give an impetus to vaccination drive alongside goading the pharma companies to considerably scale up local production and expedite importing overseas vaccines as well. There are concerns regarding raw materials required for scaling up vaccines as pointed out by the CEO of Serum Institute. As such, New Delhi must leave no stone unturned in requesting the US authorities to make special exceptions to the wartime powers under the Defense Production Act. The US is comfortably placed vis-à-vis local vaccination drive and as such, should ease restrictions to complement similar efforts underway here.
- There were demands, appeals, and fervent pleas from the medical experts to allow 18 years and above to receive vaccines as the second wave underway has witnessed an uptick in severity of disease among younger persons. Therefore, it was inevitable to protect younger persons with vaccines as the infectiousness and potential mortality rates are quite alarming if not acted upon decisively now. Now, the onus rests on the authorities to ensure the vaccination drive does not encounter earlier hick-ups when scores of eligible beneficiaries were turned out owing to erratic supply. Hopefully, the authorities would live up to the challenges and deliver on expected lines.