How long have we been struggling? The first detection of the coronavirus vaccine was on 30th January 2020. We are in the same month but a year apart. Such has been the reality in India. With one year of coronavirus rampaging our planet, we have seen 10 Million cases so far. According to science and medicine, the first step when a novel virus or flu has been detected, they try to see the severity of its spread. How much can It transmit and then all measures to curb such transmission will take place. These are the steps the government has to take. While there is one important role that the science and medicine field had to take is the making of the vaccine. India is the largest vaccine producer in the world. India export 60% of its vaccine to the world. On top of that, India is the second-largest populated country in the world. With 10 million of its 1.3 billion population infected, India stands second behind the United States in being the country with most infected cases in the world. The vaccine has seen as the light at the end of the tunnel. With coronavirus having no mercy on us and showing no signs of departing, the vaccine was the only hope. The battle for a vaccine is a long story. The first time a vaccine company was granted permission to start its trial was Moderna and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
The world was following closely on who will win this race. The battle was real. From needing a vaccine to combat the virus to needing to excel before other countries, the battle has been tough and real. But as 2020 faded away to become a distant memory, slowly, one by one vaccine makers started releasing their final analysis report. At the same time, Britain was facing another worst nightmare. It failed to recognize the ability of its new variant and have left it to spread all over the country. Britain saw that the only way out of this mess was to begin vaccination. Once Pfizer’s trial analysis report came showing a result of 94% efficacy, Britain gave its nod and started buying. Soon, It’s going to one month since Europe has begun mass vaccination. The price difference among countries is something that is to be noted. Right from the start, there have been two vaccine candidates that the world has been critically giving its full focus and following each and every movement of its firm. Moderna’s vaccine and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. Let’s us see some detailed report on vaccination and it’s pricing.
- Moderna Vaccine:
of all the vaccines produced in the world, Moderna is aiming to make the most benefit out of this misery. It is a private firm and is targeting the US market. 20 million doses have been its mark at the end of 2020. The US has invested about 2.48 billion dollars in Moderna. Since the US has already made its claim on Moderna and with such high prices the countries around the world are too busy to even focus here.
- Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine:
On the other hand, the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has been so close to India. Serum Institute of India which is the world’s largest vaccine maker had already struck a deal with this UK firm and began its production during the beginning of phase 3 of a clinical trial. AstraZeneca has confirmed to sell its vaccine for approximately 3 to 4 dollars. The United Kingdom has already given its nod for using the AstraZeneca vaccine. India has given emergency use Authorization to oxfords AstraZeneca vaccine and has promised to give people vaccine free of cost. India is still a developing country and it is also the country where vaccines are sold at their cheapest. This is what we have been believing till now. But a statement from serum Institute is something we need to ponder over. The DCGI has approved the usage of CoviShield produced by the serum Institute.
The CEO of serum Institute, Adar poonawalla has said that it will sell its drug for 1000 rupees per shot. The government hasn’t given any permission yet. But serum Institute will only give 100 million shots for a low price to the government and then onwards will change its pricing. India has struck a deal of 500 million doses from the serum Institute. If serum institute is going to sell two-shot for a thousand rupees then what will happen to the Indians? The government’s focus is on the healthcare workers, frontline workers, and vulnerable. So providing free for these populations could be made possible. But what about the other 60% of India’s healthy population? Poonawalla has also mentioned that it will take till 2024 for the whole Indian population to be vaccinated. The fact that the serum Institute is planning to sell its two-shot dose for 2000 rupees to the private market is not acceptable. If so, do all Indians have to pay such an absurd amount to get us vaccinated? What about the population in the poverty line?
Will the government of India let something like this happen? The government seems to be too focused on swadeshi vaccines that what other institutes are doing doesn’t seem to be a bother. It’s easy to say it will be available for free, but after a while, things will change. Once India has inoculated a certain amount of population, the rest have to pay a large sum to be vaccinated. This isn’t fair. The even UK is only selling it for 3-4 dollars, while serum Institute, the pride of India, is planning to sell for such a large amount. The government of India shouldn’t let something like this happen. The world is waiting for vaccine. With many countries striking such a large deal with serum Institute, it is bound to make a profit, so at least to its own country, they shouldn’t seek profit. The government of India should stand true to its words at least in this vaccination issue and not let big corporates take advantage of the Indian population.