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Vaccination drive 2021- strategies and scope of recovery

The need for an efficient vaccination drive

With the world suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown it brought with it, the vaccines provided hope. A hope that everything will get better and all economic activities will resume again. The vaccine was introduced in the country last year, and everyone was filled with optimism due to it. However, the failed management of the vaccine as well the country as well as the misinfodemic which spread nationwide led to the failure of vaccine.

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During the start of the vaccination drive in January 2021, the per day vaccinations were on the rise which was a piece of great news for the country. However, as the days passed by, the number of vaccination jabs per day started to fall majorly due to the government’s inefficient management of the vaccine. By the 10th of April, the number of per day vaccination was lower than when it was started in January. The aim to vaccinate 300 million people by August 2021 seemed impossible.

From April 10, the country witnessed a consistent fall in the daily vaccination levels. The fall was so vigorous that the total vaccine administration in the third week of may was minus 46 percent as compared to total vaccine administration in the third week of April. The average daily vaccination which was required to achieve the goal of vaccinating 300 million people till august was 3 million doses per day. However, by the end of May, about 199 million people were vaccinated at an average of 1.5 million people per day, literally half of what was actually required.

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All this created tension in the country. The country was suffering from two issues simultaneously. The rising cases of COVID-19 cases as well as the falling rate of per day vaccination. The government was doing efforts to control the COVID-19 cases but was miserable failed and all this led to the arrival of the second wave of the COVID-19 virus.

The rate majorly fell due to the lack of slots/vaccines for the people in many states as well the non-availability of free vaccine doses for the people in the age group of 18-44. To boost the much low rate of vaccination, the new policy was announced, starting from 21 June. According to the new vaccination policy, vaccines for all age groups will be provided free at government centers. In the private sector, only a nominal fee for the vaccine will be charged. This statement does not seem strong enough, but it actually is. 8.2 million people were vaccinated on 21 June alone, which was almost of the highest daily mark of 4.3 million, recorded in early April.

With the new policy bring introduced and the Vaccination again starting to pick up a pace, the fact that a huge population is to be vaccinated is very concerning. The population of the country is huge and nearly 60% of the total population accounts for people above the age of 18. This directly indicates the huge number of people who are to be vaccinated. Only 307 million doses have been given till now which is not even half of the total number of people who are to be vaccinated. Therefore, to not fail again in its vaccination drives, the country needs an efficient system.

The current vaccination system has many issues. The only mode of getting a vaccine dose currently is only in two ways. Either by registering at the official site i.e. CoWin or through walk-ins. The government earlier said that a digital app won’t be created for the registration of the Covid vaccine as nearly 66% of the people in the country do not have smartphones. Moreover, the digital literacy in the country is very low too.

Talking about the walk-ins, they are equally dangerous as any other public place as there is always a fear of the place being overcrowded which must be avoided during this time. Therefore, the only way to manage the growing vaccination rate is to increase the number of vaccination sites.

How more centers will help

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Having more options is always better, right? Having more vaccination centers will provide more options to the people and therefore the country would be able to contain the virus as well as vaccinate its people. But how can the government provide more centers for vaccination is the real question?

Our government has a lot of inventory of public buildings like community halls, marriage halls, and anganwadis which are currently unattended or unused which can be productively used if they are converted into vaccination centers for the next two years. There is no need for additional capital requirements and they can directly be converted into vaccination centers.

We all have seen how overburdened the current hospitals and government buildings are, and therefore these vacant places with 100-1000 sq. ft of land can easily be utilized to vaccinate the people.

How dangerous is it for a healthy person to come into an overburdened hospital to get vaccinated?

Well, it is equal to sitting between ten people who are Covid Positive. Imagine going to get vaccinated and getting affected by the virus only because the place was overburdened. Yes, it is scary to just imagine. Therefore, the need to transform the vacant government-owned lands and buildings into vaccination centers is rising.

Why can’t private buildings be used?

It is nearly impossible for the government right now to transform private buildings, malls, and other places into vaccination centers as the government cannot afford the expenses following it. However, it also will cause wastage of funds as all the private places are needed to shut down as soon as the cases rise and therefore all the efforts, be it cost or time of the government will be wasted. By looking at the past, we can surely say that this will lead to wastage of funds as when private hotels were used as temporary Covid hospitals and were later shut down as the cases rose.

To sum up everything, there is a very high need to transform government-owned buildings into vaccination centers if the government wants to achieve the goal of vaccinating its people at a fast pace.

Edited by Aishwarya Ingle

Simerleen Kaur

Talk to me about economics, trade, and all things India.

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