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2020 has been the year of COVID-19. It has also been marked by political turmoil. The US, Russia and China have been at frequent loggerheads. Some of the cantankerous issues have been trade protectionism, lockdown strategies, COVID-19 virus origination, election interference, etc. Each superpower has been trying to shine. This has impacted the rapid discovery of the vaccine to treat COVID-19.

China and Russia have launched their vaccines and commenced inoculations. India is planning to launch its vaccine in February 2021. The US, UK are in the middle of trials. If all counties had shared information, we could have had a universal vaccine, manufacturable globally, much faster. Lives could have been saved.

Hopefully in 2021 all nations, particularly the superpowers work together, on COVID-19. Nations like individuals, enjoy being first and even blow their horns. Be, it so. However, on issues of human life, we have to work beyond political boundaries.

There are three major challenges pertaining to COVID-19 in 2021. First, a universally accepted vaccine has to be agreed. Nations should cooperate to finalise the vaccine expeditiously to save lives. Second, the vaccine has to be rolled out to 7.8 billion people in cities and villages. The blueprints to distribute the vaccine should commence now. Nations should share their technologies and plans with each other. Third, the vaccine has to be priced at a maximum of USD one per dose, so that every person, can afford it. Industry experts have opined that the COVID-19 vaccine may be a USD 10 billion plus market per annum, since more than one dose may be necessary. Experts have opined that fighting COVID-19, may involve taking a dose annually.

We are in unchartered waters. So, prices must be kept reasonable and governments should inoculate their citizens free.

Rajendra Aneja
Mumbai, India

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