The world is in a pathetic situation fighting with a deadly pandemic named COVID-19. On 31st December 2019, the first case of COVID was reported in Wuhan, China, and on 30th January 2020 in India. The number of COVID cases is increasing rapidly all over the world. The world had become helpless and hopeless. The only ray of hope was the scientists trying their level best to find a vaccine for COVID. Currently, we have at least 13 different vaccines across 4 platforms. Pfizer/BioNtech comirnaty vaccine was the first successful vaccine introduced to the world, listed for WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) on 31 December 2020. The SII/Covishield and AstraZeneca/AZD1222 vaccines (developed by AstraZeneca/Oxford and manufactured by the State Institute of India and SK Bio respectively) were given EUL on 16 February.
The national regulator has approved two vaccines for Emergency Use Authorisation is Covid shield and Covaxin. India’s COVID vaccination drive was scheduled to start on February 16 with priority given to an estimated three crore healthcare workers and the frontline workers, said the Health Ministry. It also added that people above the age of 50 will be vaccinated, co-morbidities will be given to people below the age of 50.
Under the first formulated policy of vaccine distribution, half of the vaccines produced in India went to the federal government, and the other half to state administration and private hospitals. Although the states competed on the open market for the vaccine doses for the 18-44 age group, recipients were able to get them for free at the state government’s vaccination centers. Meanwhile, the federal government was vaccinating frontline workers and those aged above 45 years – also for free.
Under the new policy, the federal government will now buy 75% of all vaccines manufactured. It means that the state government will receive vaccines from the federal government based on the population, state of the virus, progress of the vaccine. This benefits the state authorities as they don’t have to pay high amount to the manufacturer than they offered to the federal government for vaccines. The announcement also happened just days after the previous policy attracted criticism from India’s top court, which called it “arbitrary” and “irrational”. It questioned the rationale behind making states pay more for vaccines than the federal government had to. States had to procure them on the open market, and so the financial burden on some of the poorest states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh significantly increased.
India’s previous record of 4.5 million doses was on April 5, followed by a sharp decline with average daily inoculation falling below 3 million. Experts have said India needs to administer 10 million doses a day to achieve its aim of inoculating 950 million adults by December. So far, India has fully vaccinated fewer than 5% with two doses. After this policy was brought to practice, India has broken its record after vaccinating 7.5 million people in a day.
“If supply remains consistent, we will be on course to innoculate most of our population by the end of the year, D N Patil, a senior health official in the country’s richest state of Maharashtra.
Government adviser Vinod Kumar Paul said on Monday that administering 10 million shots per day was not a “set goal”.
“As the ramping up takes place, speed of implementation should also ramp up and that would lead to a certain number,” Paul said in an interview with the CNBC-TV18 channel.
“There is a demonstration by the system of how much can be done on a given day, at least this is something that should become obvious by the end of the day.”
India’s vaccination drive has been a rollercoaster but sooner or later it will come back on track.