Corona vaccination: India in midst of massive exercise

From Devsagar Singh

Corona vaccination: India in midst of massive exercise

New Delhi, March 3,2021:It is to India’s credit that a massive anti-corona vaccination drive has begun across the length and breadth of the country, albeit with initial hiccups as expected in any new exercise of this magnitude.  Systemic glitches are being sorted out and an increasing number of senior citizens are able to register in the Government controlled Co-win website for vaccination, at least in metros like Delhi. The walk-in option is helping those who are unable to register themselves on their own, although it is resulting in crowding of hospital space and needs some streamlining.  One of the ways to get over this problem could be deploying educated tech-savvy volunteers outside hospital premises or in made-for-the occasion kiosks/ booths to help people register. If such an exercise could be undertaken during election time, this should be possible now as well.

         The need is to fast forward vaccination, considering that several states are already in the midst of the second wave of coronavirus attack. The current phase of vaccination for senior citizens and those above 45 with co-morbidities accounting for nearly 30 crore people should be attempted to be completed in the next three months. The present rate of vaccination (1.5 lakhs a day approximately), is too  little. The Government should consider roping in smaller hospitals as well.  Extending the time for vaccination beyond 5 pm will be small step.

             A huge area of concern is how and by when to reopen schools. A whole session has ended without the children going to the classrooms. Parents are worried about sending them anytime soon. The Delhi Government, for example, has been trying to reopen the schools for quite some time. But it is met with stiff resistance from parents for fear of the virus. There is no clear roadmap as of today. Vaccinating the whole of Delhi’s population or a majority of them is a far cry at the moment. Will kids lose yet another school session in terms of physical attendance?

              The second wave of virus attack,  fortunately, remains largely confined to some half a dozen states. They may be given special attention in terms of substantially increased vaccination to stop the disease from spreading.  This would be possible only if the Centre decides to differentiate these states from others. This would mean the supply of more vaccine doses to them, apart from sending additional healthcare personnel to administer the vaccines.

                Arguably the largest vaccination drive so far,  its success depends upon the participation of people. Available information suggests that there is vaccine hesitancy still persisting among some people. It is time community leaders across the country are encouraged to come forward for vaccination. This will boost others to follow. Similarly,  all Chief Ministers and ministers, irrespective of age bar, should publicly take the jab in their respective constituencies.  The media must also play its role in these unprecedented times. Adverse vaccine events should be publicized only after proper verification. Let the larger goal not suffer.


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