OPEN HOUSE

Shortage of vaccine likely to throw a spanner in the drive

City residents blame Union Government’s insensitive attitude for the dwindling stock amid rising cases

Shortage of vaccine likely to throw a spanner in the drive

Recently, a covid vaccination centre at the Civil Hospital ran out of Covid-19 vaccines in Amritsar.

OPEN HOUSE: DO YOU THINK THE GOVT WILL BE ABLE TO MEET THE VACCINE REQUIREMENT FOR ALL ABOVE 18?

Existing Stock may run out

Residents fear that heavy rush might cause shortage of the dose.

The government is set to begin vaccination for all above the age of 18 years from May 1. It is feared that heavy rush might cause shortage of the vaccine on Day 1 itself. In a nation like India, there isn’t a shortage of any product in actual but there is an artificial cut of supply in the markets, made to increase its demand and then sell the same at exorbitant prices in black market. According to the recent prices, Covaxin manufacturers had set the price at Rs150 per dose for the Centre, Rs600 per dose for state governments and that of Rs1,200 per dose for private hospitals, but the actual price of manufacturing a shot is not known. Amid the raging pandemic, it will be shameful for the manufacturers if they are thinking of earning huge profits from the sale of the vaccine at the time of national crisis, when a foreign firm such as Pfizer is offering its vaccine at no-profit price. Also, why should the state governments and private hospitals be burdened with the cost of vaccine when the Centre already made a provision of Rs35,000 crore for vaccination in the current Budget? Pumping in funds from the PM Cares Fund, they can easily buy enough doses for the nation’s population.

Naresh Johar


Centre must boost the vax drive

The state governments of Rajasthan and Punjab had said they didn’t have enough stock of vaccine to start the drive for all above the age of 18 years. It is for the Central Government to arrange the stocks and bear the cost of the vaccine as they had made a provision of Rs35,000 crore in the Budget for the same. The main reason behind the shortage is mismanagement of the situation by the Central Government. They should come forward and boost the vaccination drive in the whole nation to prevent people from the raging pandemic which is claiming the lives of thousands of people. Vaccination for all is the only method to beat the virus and save lives.

Harsh N Johar


Help from the US will ease burden

The government’s decision to open vaccination drive to everyone above the age of 18 years from May 1 is laudable. But as being highlighted in print and electronic media, many states are facing shortage of vaccine stocks. Around 18 per cent of the beneficiaries who visited various vaccination centres to get inoculated could not find a vaccine dose when they went for vaccination in April. India is facing two of its worst possible crisis during the second wave of the pandemic, firstly record spike in daily cases of Covid-19, and secondly shortage of vaccine against the viral disease. Several states have reached out to the Centre for assistance as many claimed that their stocks are diminishing. But the Health Minister assured that the country has enough doses and urged state governments to put an end to “fear mongering”. Indian authorities have also restricted export of the vaccine to other countries. The US decided to provide India with the crucial raw materials needed for the vaccine production. With this and the government’s financial aid to the two Indian vaccine manufacturers, these companies shall be able to produce enough doses to vaccinate a large number of citizens.

Dr KS Manchanda


Stocks exhausting, precautions must

The second wave of Covid is at its peak in Punjab. The government is taking every possible measure to control the surge but to no avail. Vaccinating the entire population or at least the youth aged above 18 years seems to be impossible as the state is already flagging its concern over shortage of vaccine stocks. It is better to follow other corrective and preventive measures like wearing face mask, maintenance of physical distance in public places and curbing large public gatherings to avoid contracting the virus.

TS Bhatti


States dependent on Central govt

No, the state government will not be able to meet the requirement and vaccine shortage will certainly hit the drive. The reason behind this problem is that out state is Congress-ruled and non-cooperative BJP government at the Centre is being biased in vaccine supplies. The stocks are provided by the Centre and the state government is dependent on them. This irresponsible and insensitive behavior of the government will be costing lives of several innocent citizens who had voted them to power.

Sanjay Chawla


Seek aid from foreign nations

The government is set to open the vaccination drive for all above 18 years on May 1, which would add approximately 36 per cent of the citizens to the list of allowed beneficiaries. But, the present situation about vaccine shortage is very grim. A judicious approach in procurement of vaccine is the need of the hour. Injection manufacturing companies need to bolster up the production and the government should support and provide aid to these companies in all possible ways, including ramping up the process of manufacturing vaccine. The government must sign with the diplomats of other countries to send vaccine doses or raw materials for its manufacture to the earliest. Emergency approval to companies producing vaccines should be given. The infrastructure and man power for the success of inoculation drive needs to be reviewed and managed astutely. Lest there can be a chaos and utmost failure to deal with the avalanche of masses coming for the jab. Every hospital with adequate facilities and other centres with proper provisions need to be roped in to cope up with the huge rush. Indeed it’s the need of the hour to vaccinate as much of the populace as early as possible as the deadly virus is on bloodbath. Vaccine definitely protects from the progression of disease. One shouldn’t shirk from the shot. Don’t vaccilate - Vaccinate!

Dr Raman Gupta


Dwindling stock cause for concern

Amid the second wave of Covid, it is coming to the fore that the proportion of youth among the infected persons is comparatively more than the previous wave. Ultimately, the government opened up the vaccination drive to all adults over the age of 18 years. Also, to make the drive a success, the state’s health ministry has ordered 30 lakh doses of Covishield from Serum Institute of India. For poor and needy persons, the CM relief fund would be considered as a major tool. Dwindling stocks of vaccine are a cause for concern and pose as a major roadblock in the mission to vaccine all above the age of 18 to prevent a major chunk of our population. Owing to the rise in number of infections at an alarming rate, people are more concerned in getting vaccinated soon but the government needs to ensure that there are enough doses with the state to administer to its residents. The government also needs to keep a check that there is no vaccine wastage at this crucial time. The third phase of vaccination starting from May 1 will increase the demand significantly without a clear pathway to increasing the supply. Finally, the Centre has to play its role in providing the states with the required number of doses.

Parampreet Kaur


No arrangements made by Government

The government realised the gravity of the situation too late and should have made efforts to check the spread of the pandemic much earlier. Still, the state government is not in the state to open the vaccination drive for persons above 18 from May 1, as the Health Minister says that there are not enough stocks of vaccine with the government. Also, no arrangements have been made for effective procurement of vaccine. This casual approach of the government can prove to be hazardous to its people. May 1 is just round the corner and the government must act responsibly to get most of the people inoculated to win this fight against the pandemic.

Indu Aurora


Those above 45 must be jabbed on a priority

Covid is spreading at an alarming rate in the nation and the positivity rate is also very high in several states and UTs. It has been observed that people who are already suffering from some disease are more prone to contract Covid as compared to healthy persons who are able to recover from the disease after minor symptoms of flu, cough and headache. According to my view, persons above 45 years should be vaccinated on priority and only after ensuring 100 per cent vaccination among them, we should start promoting immunisation process among persons between 18 to 45 years. Vaccine stock shortage is also being reported repeatedly in the state, thus senior citizens should be inoculated first as they are more vulnerable and the disease is more fatal in persons of this age group. We should also encourage persons less than 45 years to adopt healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly and eat home-cooked food and more fruits. As the vaccine just provides our body with the immunity to fight the virus, if contracted, and does not prevent us from getting infected, people should not lower their guards and keep following the government-issued guideline to keep the virus at bay.

Dr VK Banga


Shortage will disrupt the vaccination drive

As the nation is witnessing second wave of the Covid pandemic, we are aiming to immunise over 60 per cent of the population that falls in age between 18-45 years. But, the present scenario of shortage of jabs may disrupt plans to vaccinate all adults from May 1 and prolong the health crisis. The state’s health department says that they are prepared and well equipped to vaccinate everyone above 18 years of age from May 1, but there was a shortage of shots which were to be provided by the Centre. In my opinion, the department should create a list of districts with high positivity rate and begin the drive in those districts on priority. The districts where positivity rate is more than 15 per cent should get it first, followed by those between five to 15 per cent. This would help ease the pressure on supplies. Otherwise, it would be an uphill task.

Suneet Kochhar


Vaccination Drive going on full swing

Vaccination of all is a huge challenge for the government amid the present scenario when the state governments are flagging the shortage of supplies. Covid infections are rising at an alarming rate in the nation. However, it is heartening to note that after initial hiccups and rumours, the system is moving like a well-oiled machine. One may ask anyone among his contacts and many of them would have been partially of fully vaccinated. The problem with people who are fully vaccinated is that they lower their guard and consider them as protected from the virus which is not the case. The vaccine only boosts your immune system to fight the virus and not does prevent one from contracting virus. The importance of wearing mask and frequently washing hands with soap cannot be compromised.

Mohan Singh


Uniform vaccination policy must

In view of the record surge in number of cases in the nation daily, the Centre’s nod to administer vaccine to all above the age of 18 years is a welcome step. But to ensure effective implementation of the drive, the government should make sure that the states are provided with the required stocks unbiasedly, regardless of the ruling-party there. It will strengthen our fight against the virus. Amid the ongoing second wave, several non-BJP ruled states have been alleging the Centre of sending them lesser stocks. The Centre must chalk out a clean vaccination policy, under which the doses must be distributed to various states and UTs. Recently, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s sharp response to Maharashtra’s demand of more vaccine by the blaming the state for insufficient containment measures, was unhelpful. Various states, such as Punjab and Maharashtra, where the fatality and positivity rates are alarming, they should be provided with enough doses to get most of their residents inoculated. The government’s statement of administering vaccine to those who need it and not to those who want it was not persuasive amid the second wave when a large number of youths were contracting the virus and facing difficulties. Bureaucrats should be given the duty to ration the stocks to end the biased approach in distribution of the doses among the states on political grounds. Punjab being a non-BJP ruled state might have to find a way to acquire its stocks, by convincing the Centre about its urgent requirement and also dealing with the manufacturers directly.

LJ Singh


Import more jabs to meet demand

  • The government is all set to begin vaccination of all above the age of 18 years w.e.f. May 1. The ambitious plan is laudable as it will certainly help in restraining the virus and check its spread but, the precarious situation of shortage of vaccines is likely to throw a spinner in its plan. The gargantuan effort may prove abortive if no demand-supply equilibrium is maintained.
  • If the beneficiaries are turned away by hospitals on Day 1 due to low stocks, tense situations may arise and people may also stage protests. A well-intentioned decision brings with it a massive responsibility. Is the government fully prepared for this herculean task? The Centre had vehemently denied shortage of vaccine but the states find it difficult to start immunisation of all above 18 from May 1.
  • Pune-based Serum Institute of India had also conveyed its inability to deliver Covishield doses to the state before mid-May. Amid such a dismal scenario, the state can import foreign vaccines such as that from Pfizer which has offered, it is learnt, vaccines on no profit basis to Indian.

Tarsem S Bumrah


QUESTION

With shortage of ICU beds in hospitals, Covid drugs and oxygen, how can the administration deal with the increasing coronavirus cases in the district

Suggestions in not more than 200 words can be sent to amritsardesk@tribunemail.com by Thursday (May 6).

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