- If the year 2020 turned out to be all about the pandemic rendering humanity subdued, the year 2021 appears all set to be dominated by the vaccination drives alongside curbing the spread of the dreaded virus. Many Western and European countries are in the midst of second and/or third waves with no immediate signs of subjugating the menace. Most welcomingly, the emergency user approvals granted to a few of the vaccine candidates are proving to be no less than a silver-lining to finally offer effective resistance to the almost free run of the pandemic. Indian Government too has granted necessary approvals to commence vaccination.
- Out of the two vaccines that have received approvals, The Oxford University-AstraZeneca promoted Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune has already commenced vaccination drive throughout the country. In the first stage, the health warriors who were in the forefront right through these last few months are being inoculated. Covaxin, developed indigenously by the Bharat Biotech-ICMR-NIV will be on Phase 3 clinical trial and should be available for universal inoculation in a couple of months from now. The vaccination drive kick-started by the Prime Minister on 16th January 2021 has received a cautious but welcome response from all concerned.
- Undeniably, scaling up of healthcare infrastructure soon after the pandemic was announced has resulted in assured preparedness to undertake the humongous task of vaccination catering to the dense population of the country. Initial plans envisaged to vaccinate two lakh per day is scheduled to be scaled up to five lakh per day. The Government has placed orders with SII to cover the targeted category comfortably. With the prospects of a couple of more vaccines underway alongside Covaxin subsequently, India is securely placed vis-à-vis attaining herd immunity that pegs 70 – 80% of people getting vaccinated to reach the coveted standing.
PC: Anupam Nath
- For this to fructify, the Centre, state, and vaccine companies are to be in sync and work relentlessly to realize the intended herd immunity. Thus, free and fast delivery of vaccines assumes paramount importance which will have a far greater psychological effect on the populace than a fiscal stimulus at this moment. The resultant outcome aftermath of vaccination could see a surge in people opting to travel, eat, shop, and agree to send children to schools without worrying too much about the infection to revive the yet to take-off services sector amounting to 54% of India’s GDP. Boosting overall sentiment to one of optimism is of utmost importance here.
- There are valid concerns raised about the efficacy data of the vaccines from some quarters that deserve to be deliberated and disseminated transparently. As misinformation in the age of social media will render the efforts of the authorities infructuous creating trust-deficit about the vaccines, it is incumbent to ensure informed dissemination seamlessly flows from different directions to quell rumormongering. App developed for the purpose Co-WIN has some glitches that should be addressed for ease of tracking vaccination drive. The earliest availability of the vaccines for the private health sector to administer should also be prioritized for people to have an option to choose by paying up.