Collective endeavour - GulfToday

Collective endeavour

Covid Vaccine

Notices about the shortage of COVISHIELD, a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, are seen outside a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Mumbai. Reuters

This is with reference to the article ‘COVID flare-up exposes governance failures’ (April 26). India will have difficulties in expanding the vaccination drive to the age groups 18 to 45 years. There are no vaccines in most of the states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, etc. India has inoculated 10.8 per cent of its population with at least one jab. However, only 1.8 per cent of the population has received both the jabs. Hence, even the above 45-year olds, have not received the second jabs. So, there is a desperate scarcity and need for vaccines.

There is also an acrimonious debate about the price of the vaccine per dose from the Serum Institute. State governments are negotiating for every Rs. 100, which is about USD 1.5 or Dhs5. Is this the time to be negotiating for a few rupees? Governments should focus on buying the vaccine from any and all sources and inoculating their populations rapidly. The state governments have now been authorised to source vaccines and medical equipment on their own from anywhere in the world. They should be proactive.

India’s data collection of the COVID-19 and mortality also need to be refurbished. Many international, organisations like the John Hopkins University, Imperial College London, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, etc., have opined that the actual cases in India may be much higher. Due to the surge, many laboratories are taking longer to test and many patients may be dying, even without knowing that they were positive.

India today, needs strong leadership at every level. In every laboratory, hospital, town, city and village, men who believe in themselves and the country, should stand up and contribute their best to controlling COVID-19. Politics does not matter. Ordinary citizens, must pick up the gauntlet, and contribute in their own way, to resolving the crisis in their own communities. Blaming the government, will serve no purpose, at his stage.

Rajendra Aneja
Mumbai, India

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