Synopsis: India needs to develop a practical plan, as it is facing many roadblocks to achieve universal vaccination for all.
- Initially, India decided to prioritize vaccination for the most vulnerable citizens (nearly 300 million).
- The main reason for that were the limitations of India’s manufacturing capacity to provide vaccination to its whole population.
- Thus, only about 5% of the intended beneficiaries have been vaccinated till now.
- However, a combination of panic, public pressure, and the magnitude of the second wave has forced the government to authorize vaccines to anyone above 18.
- Further, the state government’s control over procurement has been liberalized.
- But achieving the goal of universal vaccination for all is still a distant dream due to a lack of planning and preparedness.
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What are the roadblocks to achieve universal vaccination for all?
- First, lack of foresight has led to shortages in the supply chain. India unlike other countries did not foresee a devastating second wave. Hence, India did not make purchase agreements with other vaccine manufacturers. India also applied different standards, while waiving critical trials for Covaxin, it applied stringent requirements for foreign companies.
- Second, liberalizing states to procure vaccines will not help. This is because of two reasons,
- One, already international vaccinators such as Pfizer and Moderna have supply commitments to other countries.
- Two, States in India are weak in finances and negotiating power.
- Third, with the resurfacing of lockdown due to second-wave, the administration of logistics will be challenging.
India could have avoided this situation with effective foresight and planning. Now, India should work with pragmatism and preparedness to achieve the goal of universal vaccination for all as soon as possible.
Source: The Hindu