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Being Ready for Covid 19

Context:

The number of active COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates in India has declined sharply. The third wave of Pandemic showed the efficacy of vaccine as a life saver.

Relevance:

GS-II: Government Policies & Interventions, Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. COVID-19 pandemic
  2. What made all the difference?
  3. Shortage of supply and demand
  4. Way Forward

COVID-19 pandemic:

  • India was reporting around 1,70,000 cases a day, just a month ago.
  • The latest figures shows that the number of cases per day dropped to around 6,000.
  • India is now contributing to only 0.7% of global cases
  • Last year this time, cases in India was around 5,000 a day and many claimed that the pandemic is over. However, the delta variant created a catastrophe.
  • Current figures:
    • Over 75% of those over 15 years are now fully vaccinated in India.
    • A small and growing number of those over 60 have had the third dose.

What made all the difference?

  • Vaccination and the extent of it coverage  was a crucial distinction between then and now
  • A recent report suggests that over 90% of Indians have been exposed to the virus over the last two years and, therefore, combined with the vaccination, are sufficiently protected against disease — but not infection — for many more months ahead.
  • Significance of Vaccine:
  • Avoiding vaccination, especially the elderly, makes them vulnerable to serious infection.
    • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said that 92% of those who died of COVID-19 since January this year were unvaccinated.
      • The wide vaccination coverage had played an important role in protecting hundreds of lives
  • Vaccine hesitancy:
  • India is fortunate in that it does not have to battle vaccine hesitancy in a large measure.
    • When the vaccination drive began in India, there were scepticism regarding the vaccines not having passed the typical stages of vaccine approval saw a certain degree of hesitation.
    • But soon, the main problem was an insufficient number of vaccines.

Shortage of supply and demand:

  • India has administered nearly 178 crore vaccine doses till date.
  • Several indigenously developed vaccines that have been approved in emergency mode by authorities, however, there are still serious questions on supply.
  • Currently, the demand for vaccine is low and many vaccination centres are administering second doses.
  • The demand for Vaccine can spike up when there are signs for fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The demand will be to vaccinate children, particularly those below 15, as well as booster doses for adults.
  • The manufacture of Covaxin was unable to ramp up vaccinations in time during the crisis months. This is a caution to biotechnology companies that having vaccines is very different from being ready with a seamless supply chain.
  • The Indian government has still not made public a timeline for when vaccines from Biological E, Gennova and Zydus Cadila will be practically available for mass use.

Way Forward:

Currently, India is surrounded by a number of crisis across the globe. However, this must not let down its efforts towards COVID-19 and it should insist on companies being ready with a measurable timeline.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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