- The Union Government has taken a logical step by allowing people aged 45 years and above without comorbidities eligible to receive vaccination from 01st April 2021 onwards. This move will not only ensure in speeding up the process of vaccination drive covering more than an expected 30 crore eligible population to get inoculated but will also facilitate extending the immunization drive to reach out to the bulk of the workhorse populace whose healthy disposition is crucial for sustaining the economic activities in future. With the country anxiously staring at a second Covid wave, revised vaccination guidelines will be treated as a timely move indeed.
PC: Swapnil Mishra
- Yet another logical move based on scientific, and experts’ considerations is increasing the gap between two Covishield doses by up to eight weeks thereby allowing the Serum Institute of India to massively ramp up vaccination production to complement the easing of categories of eligible receivers. The revision so announced duly recognizes the ground realities to reduce vaccine wastage and improve capacity utilization as demonstrated by the Chennai Corporation’s Primary Health Centers undertaking to vaccinate individuals above 18 years of age. Also, more occupations like teachers are being treated as frontline workers as Punjab did recently.
- The need of the hour is to adopt many more improvisations and flexible approaches to combat the second Covid wave more forcefully and with intent. The above decisions by the Central Government are timely pragmatically complementing the ground realities. As you are all aware, a vaccine vial once opened must be exhausted within four hours or it will be wasted. As such, once the categorized beneficiaries in the 45 plus age group are not present, local authorities must show flexibility like what Chennai did. Reports suggest the same practice is observed overseas by the healthcare facilities offering unused doses to young people waiting to jump the line.
PC: GreenLeaf Pest Control
- Experts are of the view that this reduces wastage as also addresses the necessity to inoculate youngsters primarily engaged in contact jobs who are considered as potent superspreaders. Another area desperately deserving a relook in vaccine strategy is to bolster private facilities reporting low offtake as reports emanating points to dismal 13% of the 40000 vaccination sites inoculating just 40 per site out of 16 lakh inoculations undertaken in a day last week. Reasons like low turnout, price controls, bottlenecks in supply, and vaccine unavailability with identified private providers are the factors considerably shrinking the private sector’s enthusiasm in the campaign.
- More worryingly, reports suggesting the non-availability of the vaccine in Karnataka – though denied by the authorities – will only add to the pitfalls of a centralized mechanism hindering the drive on expected lines. It will immensely help to allow the States and private hospitals to source vaccines directly from the manufacturers rather than go through the cumbersome centralized processes hindering the flow. Going forward, the single most priority of the Union Government should be to ensure the vaccination drive reaches out to maximum people by adopting innovative and elastic approaches. Rigidity and inflexible processes should be relegated to the backburner.