The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his meeting with the chief minsters of states, slated to be held today, i.e. Tuesday, November 24, 2020, through video conferencing, is likely to discuss the need to evolve and put in place a distribution system for the much-expected Covid-19 vaccine in the country. The centre as well as the states have a massive responsibility of arranging for and managing the logistics for transportation, storage and distribution as well as administering of vaccine on a massive scale.
The positive news is that Covid-19 vaccine is only a few months away. AstraZeneca have hinted that its Covid-19 vaccine developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford does have an average efficacy of 70%. This is very encouraging. With two dosage the efficacy of the vaccine has been 90%. Serum Institute of India has the requisite licence to produce this vaccine. The process of distribution and inoculation in India is likely to begin soon. Say, in a few months.
Anticipating this, the union government wants to take the state governments on board and prepare a well co-ordinated distribution and logistics system.
The good piece of news is that this is one vaccine that can be kept in normal refrigerators and unlike other vaccines does not need a very low temperature for storage. This is more suited to Indian environs.
Initially, not everyone would be able to avail of the vaccine and some rationing would be needed. The government has already hinted that the health workers, corona warriors and senior citizens as well as the persons with co-morbidities would get priority in vaccination. And this is a good piece of news because saving lives of vulnerable populations should be our priority. Once the production is ramped up and vaccine becomes available for everyone, its distribution, administration and safety measures would have to be focused on too.
During Covid-19 pandemic, Indian machinery and administrative set up has risen to the task and a massive effort was launched all over the country. All the governments have done well, despite lacunae, in containing the pandemic.
A similar effort would have to be made to ensure that the vaccination drive too goes on smoothly.
This virus needs to be defeated. And a well co-ordinated effort is required for that.