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Focus: GS-II Science and Technology


  • Globally, innumerable vaccine trials are progressing; in India, two candidates have advanced considerably.
  • Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, created COVAX — a funding facility to ensure up-scaling vaccine production and its access to low income countries as soon as regulatory approvals emerge.
  • India’s Universal Immunisation Programme is a vaccine-delivery platform for children and pregnant women, funded by the central government but implemented by State governments.

Taking up Vaccines in Excess

Some wealthy nations made bilateral financial agreements with manufacturers in order to stockpile vaccines.

Global public good should not be hijacked by wealthy nations.

Define policy for clarity

  • The first step is policy definition leading to a plan of action blueprint. The time to create them is now — it costs nothing, but will save time when a vaccine becomes available.
  • Vaccine availability will be limited at first, when we must ensure that those on the priority list receive it.
  • Area-wise estimates of the numbers who need vaccination on a priority basis are necessary and it can be the duty of State governments to capture all such data.
  • All those who must rebuild essential activities, i.e. economic, educational, trade, transport, sociocultural and religious, must be protected.
  • With India’s notable representation in decision-making bodies of the World Health Organization, India is uniquely positioned to play a crucial role in advocating global eradication of COVID-19.

Getting a plan ready

  • We need a vaccine-delivery platform to fulfil all such needs.
  • A practical method is vaccination camps, supervised by a medical officer, staffed by health management and local government, and having the list of people who need vaccination.
  • Phase 3 trial is usually in healthy volunteers, hence efficacy and safety profile in others will not be available when a vaccine is rolled out.
  • Some countries require that a proportion of volunteers should be the elderly and the vulnerable so that senior citizens and those with co-morbidities are vaccinated by/on priority.
  • The vaccine regulatory agency should take a call on the special question of vaccine safety during pregnancy.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023