More than two months after starting the word’s biggest vaccination drive, the Indian government has finally opened the vaccination process for all individuals over the age of 18 who will be eligible for the shot, come May 1. The biggest change introduced in the process is that states can now buy coronavirus vaccines directly from manufacturers – who can release up to 50 per cent of their supply for this purpose at a “pre-declared price”. Naturally, the success of the drive will now rest upon the shoulders of the states who were calling for decentralisation of the vaccine process.
States often complaining about the shortage of Remdesivir, oxygen supply and ventilators will have to tackle the issues like shortage, wastage and hoarding. The excuse of ‘pinning the blame on centre’ that the likes of Arvind Kejriwal and Uddhav Thackeray reportedly used extensively during the second wave of China-made pandemic will be deemed null and void now.
According to news reports, manufacturers will be supplying half of their output to the centre, which will release these doses, based on the number of cases and wastage, to states via the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL). The rest can be sold to the states directly.
Some states had allegedly blamed the centre for exporting the vaccines to other countries under the “Vaccine Maitri” program and used it as an excuse to hide their shambolic mismanagement of the virus. However, now that they have the authority to purchase the vaccines directly from the manufacturers, it will need to be seen how many actually step up and try to buy the vials for the state’s populace.
Reported extensively by TFI, it was the drought of the Remdesivir medicine in states around the country like Maharashtra, aided by seemingly crippling management of the Maha Vikas Aghadi that made the situation grimmer than it was.
News reports of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) allegedly purchasing Remdesivir injections at double the rate of the quoted price had gone viral in the recent weeks and one hopes that MVA will not resort to such inhumane antics in the vaccination process.
— Avinash Srivastava (@go4avinash) April 13, 2021
According to a Hindustan report, taking a rough gander at the numbers, one can infer that the maximum amount of vaccine is being wasted in the state of Tamil Nadu. More than 11 per cent of the vaccine supplied by the Central government is ending up in the trashcan in the southern state.
TN is followed by Haryana, where 10.5 per cent of the vaccines are being wasted, all the while the central government is appealing to the states to stop the vaccine wastage. Apart from this, 8.4 per cent of the vaccines are being wasted in Manipur, 7.88 per cent in Punjab, 7.33 per cent in Bihar and 6.62 per cent in Assam. Talking about Ashok Gehlot’s Rajasthan, 6.32 per cent of the vaccine supplied is being wasted here and 5.27 per cent in Uttar Pradesh.
Thus, the main challenge will be to reduce the wastage while the central government steadily ramp up vaccine production. Another hurdle in the process will be the left-liberal media and opportunist politicians like Rahul Gandhi who will look to politicise the issue once again.
The liberals who had been crying hoarse for opening the vaccines to the private sector have finally been granted their wishes. However, the usual suspects have come out and started making excuses to shield the states which will inadvertently falter in the pursuit of vaccinating the public.
Modi did nothing to augment capacity of vaccine producers or create publicly funded universal vax program. He now widens age-access to vaccines—of which there aren’t enough—and lets private vax providers charge prices they like!
Min govt, min governance.https://t.co/LcOO9MvodP
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) April 20, 2021
• No free vaccines for 18-45 yr olds.
• Middlemen brought in without price controls.
• No vaccine guarantee for weaker sections.
GOI’s Vaccine Discrimination- Not Distribution- Strategy!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 20, 2021
It is imperative to note that the centre has approved Rs 3000 crore funds for Serum Institute and Rs 1500 crore for Bharat Biotech to ramp up vaccine production. Sputnik V and other foreign vaccines such as Pfizer, Moderna have also been granted permission by the central government, subjected to bridging trials. Thus those trying to create the narrative that there is a shortage of vaccine should take a good, hard look at the facts at hand.
What would a responsible media do now that vaccine opened to market? Call out the hypocrisy of the Congress as it goes on another spree to seed doubts against vaccination.
What will media do? Either happily cheer the Congress or at best keep silent. https://t.co/3pAmdNlbLd
— Akhilesh Mishra (@amishra77) April 20, 2021
The centre is trusting the states with the vaccination process but if they repeat their mistakes which led to the surge of the second wave, then the entire responsibility of the crisis will be fixed on them solely.