The fight against COVID-19 is possibly entering its final stages, with the Prime Minister announcing the kick-off of the vaccination drive from January 16. This announcement precedes a herculean task ahead, in which 300 million Indians will be vaccinated in the first phase of the drive. The first phase caters primarily to healthcare and frontline workers, the elderly, and those with comorbidities.
However, there will be initial hiccups in carrying out this task. The problems in carrying out vaccination on this massive scale are apparent
Let us first know what is vaccine after that we will explore challenges which India will face in this drive
What is the vaccine
It prepares your body to fight against any disease, virus or infection, the vaccine contains some weak or inactive parts of an organism that causes the disease.
What are the challenges of the corona vaccination drive in India?
1. First challenge related to logistics and supply chains for vaccine delivery in the country will come up, as well as efforts to stop the virus from spreading further
2. Impact of vaccines are long term so studies should be conducted for more effective anti-infective drugs to combat infection.
3. There is no vaccination program for adults except for tetanus vaccines. There are many difficulties in vaccinating children as many people do not get vaccinated at all.
4. At least two doses of vaccine and the second vaccine should be applied after a certain number of days. Ensuring this will be another challenge.
5. Vaccines have to be kept at temperatures below minus 70 degrees Celsius. It will be difficult to manage at places other than big cities.
6. Another concern is that after two to three years, it will be known whether the vaccine is really effective or not
7.To meet the demand of the vaccine, there are questions about the supply of billions of syringes and glass vials till next year. At the same time, what will be done about the disposal of medical waste that will come out on a large scale from this vaccination campaign?
8. Apart from this, about 40 lakh doctors and nurses are required to complete the vaccination program in India.
Why will India tackle the problem during the vaccination drive?
1. India vaccinates 26.5 million infants per year for a number of diseases, as well as annual tetanus shots for 29 million pregnant women. These centers will be used for vaccinations as they offer cross-country storage facilities and distribution points for the COVID-19 vaccine, including 29,000 cold-chain points offering precise temperature customization for the doses.
2.India also has an excellent electronic system for storing and tracking these vaccines.
3.India is also known as the “pharmacy of the world” since it produces half the world’s total vaccine supply. India’s vaccine manufacturing ecosystem means that India is unlikely to suffer a shortage of essentials like glass vaccine vials, as the U.K. did. Unlike the U.S., India won’t have to import such materials from other countries
4.India’s pharmaceutical manufacturing strength also helped it ramp up COVID-19 testing capacity last year. Indian manufacturers helped the country move from a reliance on imported tests at the start of the outbreak to producing 75% of its COVID-19 tests domestically by May.
5. India has marshaled its resources for a nationwide vaccination drive in the past, successfully eradicating polio in 2014 and for its smallpox eradication campaign in the 1970s.