Vaccination is a serious matter. In the current Covid-19 situation, it seems to be one of the key factors that would be responsible in getting the pandemic under control, reducing severity of the disease, minimising the need for hospitalisation, and allowing us to continue to live.
Our government has made quite a mess of the vaccination plan for the country, through the vaccination policy it announced in the middle of April, amidst the gasps for breaths of oxygen and hunts for hospital beds.
Announcing early victory over the virus (sans vaccination made it a big accomplishment), delay in ordering vaccines, high-handedness with vaccine makers, vaccine mockery, handing over vaccine acquisition to the states, differential pricing, changing vaccination schedules and regimen … Every area that could be messed up, has been messed up.
- April 29, 2021: Why experts are not happy with India’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement, pricing policy
- May 10, 2021: Cost of Covid vaccines in India’s private hospitals is the highest in world
- June 1, 2021: Experts Urge: Make COVID Vaccine Free for Everyone in India to Curb Death Toll
Those who have been trying to book a slot, or closely following the vaccination news will find this joke that has been doing the rounds in social media, quite relatable and funny.
To balance the shots with the vaccine supply / shortage, the schedules at vaccination centres change on a daily basis. People who need the 2nd dose of Covaxin (after 4-6 weeks from the 1st shot) have been struggling to find places that offer it. State governments are unable to get vaccine manufacturers to commit to vaccine supply.
Even the Supreme Court is tending towards the stance that the vaccine policy needs correction.
People, especially those in the 18-44 age group, have spent days on Cowin.gov.in, Aarogya Sethu app and Umang app, trying to book vaccination appointments for themselves and their family, friends, acquaintances, and even total strangers. Telegram alert groups are the new socialising sites.
The shortages though, are not visible at private hospitals and hotels.
Then you have people who have a preference for certain vaccines – either due to the gap between shots or the side effects or the international acceptance.
The government has also adjusted the gap between two shots of Covishield – from 4 weeks to 8 weeks and recently to 12-16 weeks.
In the meantime, the Covid-stricken MP from his bed speaks, appealing for a review of the atrocious vaccine policy.
Vaccination by 2021 is the dream. How we will make it happen, is to be seen.
Edit: 6th June 2021
This article by K. Sujatha Rao dated 4th June puts everything in perspective.
We need a vaccine policy based on fairness and justice