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COVID-19 Vaccine - Countless Challenges Before the Government
10/20/2020 12:26:23 AM
There have been more than 40 million cases of Covid-19 in the world. 11,15,000 people died due to Corona in the world. The situation of Corona in India is also under control but worrisome. So far 1,14,000 people have died due to corona in the country. More than 60,000 corona cases are still being reported daily in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan are constantly reviewing the situation of Corona. New guidelines are being issued on regular basis. Clinical trials on three Covid vaccines are going on in India. 2 vaccines are in the second phase and one vaccine is in the third phase.
The Corona vaccine poses many challenges for a large country like India. The production, storage, distribution and vaccination of vaccines will be a challenging task for 140 crore Indians. Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has expressed the hope that by July 2021, 20 to 25 crore people can get the Corona vaccine. The vaccine will be affected only when 2 shots of vaccine are applied. A dose of 50 crore of vaccine will be required for 25 crore Indians.
Vaccine success challenge
The first and foremost challenge facing the country is the successful manufacture of the vaccine. Trial work is underway on more than 150 projects related to the corona vaccine in the world. Three vaccines are being worked on in India as well. We should not forget that all vaccine trials will be successful, this is difficult. Pre-clinical trials are performed on animals before starting the vaccine preparation. Upon success, the trial work is started on humans. It has three phases. In the first phase, at least 20 people are vaccinated. In the second phase, the vaccine is trialed over 100 people. In the third and final phase, clinical trials are conducted on more than 10,000 people. There is no guarantee that the vaccine trial will be successful in all three stages. Production of Vaccine begins after successfully completing all three phases of clinical trial.
Vaccine may come by March 2021
If everything goes as per plan, by March 2021 Indian Covid 19 vaccine may come.
Work on three vaccines in the country
Work is underway on three vaccines regarding the corona in the country. The first is Covaxin which is being developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Bharat Biotech. The second vaccine is ZyCoV -D, being developed by Zydus Cadila. The third vaccine, Covishield, is developed by the University of Oxford and a pharmaceutical company called Astregeneca.
Russian vaccine Sputnik-V
The trial work of Sputnik V vaccine developed by Russia will be in India. An agreement has been reached between RDIF and Doctor Reddy on the testing and distribution of Sputnik-V. According to the agreement, India will get 100 million vaccine doses of Sputnik-V.
Vaccine manufacturing challenge
One shot of any vaccine is not enough. If 2 shots of the corona vaccine will be necessary, then a dose of 280 crore of vaccines will be required for the 140 crore Indians. Making it will be a big challenge. This work may take several years. Even assuming 50 million doses are made in a day, it will take about 600 days to make 280 crore doses. Availability of Raw materials, required for the production of vaccine will also be a challenge. India will also need at least 175 crore vials and 175 crore syringes for the vaccine.
Vaccine storage challenge
Producing, storage and maintenance of the vaccine will be a challenge. Refrigerators and glass vials will be needed. Vaccines need to be kept at temperatures ranging from 2 degrees to -80 degrees Celsius. Such storage systems will have to be developed in every state and city. It can take thousands of crores of rupees.
Vaccination challenge
Immunization will require 50,000 health workers. The government will have to contract for vaccination with all major hospitals. Giving vaccines to millions of people a day will also be a challenging task. Some individuals or communities may also refuse to take the vaccine. The challenge before the government will be how to deal with such people or communities.
Vaccine distribution challenge
Distribution of vaccines from cities to towns across the country will be a challenge for the government. Even today there are hundreds of inaccessible places in the country which are difficult to reach.
Cohesion challenge with state governments
In order to make effective distribution, storage and vaccination successful, the central government will have to align better with all the state governments. There are so many states in the country. All the states have governments of different parties. Co-ordinating of the central government with all state governments will be a difficult task.
Priority challenge
The central government will have to decide which state and which city will be vaccinated first. Front line workers will be the first to receive the vaccine. The Central Government has started the task of getting the list from all the states of priority groups. After these, which people or communities will be given priority in vaccination, expected after March 2021. There can also be a situation of tension or politics over it in the country. The central government has to be ready for this.
Monitoring system
The biggest challenge for the central government will be to monitor crores of units of the vaccine. The government will have to further strengthen the real-time tracking infrastructure. Otherwise the vaccine will be sent elsewhere but will reach elsewhere.
Vaccination - compulsory or optional
Will it be mandatory for everyone to take the vaccine in the country or will it be kept optional? If a person or community refuses to take the vaccine, what action will the government take? This situation can also come before the government.
Vaccination costs
Vaccination can cost up to ₹100,000 crore for such a large population of the country. It will be a big challenge for the central government to arrange so much money for vaccination.
A single person who had not taken vaccine, can have an impact on the lives of many people. Therefore, the government should make vaccination mandatory. The central government should get the vaccination done first by focusing on those states where more cases of corona are coming up. The effect of the corona vaccine will last for life. Vaccination should start only when the central government and standard agencies are satisfied with the trial and outcome of the corona vaccine. The government should make proper storage arrangements. There should be proper training of health workers. The government will have to speed up vaccination by contracting with all major private hospitals across the country.
Health workers, army and paramilitary personnel, police, drivers, sweepers, teachers, people above the age of 55 years as well as children below 3 years of age should be first vaccinated in the country. They should get the vaccine in the first phase by July 2021. Vaccination should begin from Mumbai, the most affected city by Corona. All political parties must understand the situation of Covid19 pandemic and help the central government in storage, distribution, tracking of vaccine and also in vaccination.
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