Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Getting Back to Normalcy

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 21, 2021 11:45 pm

On Thursday, India achieved the milestone of administering 100 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses to its citizens. It is a big achievement towards beating the pandemic and getting back to normal life. Prayers for early development of a vaccine for the disease was answered in record time, thanks to scientists and medical experts around the world who worked tirelessly to save lives. However, the government’s ambitious vaccination drive, which began earlier this year, was met with unexpected road bumps from all directions. When it was developed, many countries including India had to fight another issue — vaccine hesitancy – fuelled by misinformation and rumours, which hampered the pace of the vaccination drive. This was evident from the fact that it took 85 days to cross the 10-crore vaccination mark, while it took only 45 days to cross the 20-crore mark, and the pace picked up thereafter before reaching the one billion mark in 278 days. The government was also responsible for the slow pace of the drive in the initial stages. Critics cried over the slow rate and many states cried shortage of the crucial jabs in the middle of the vaccination programme. Then the decision to revise vaccine procurement policy by allowing the states to buy 25% directly from the manufacturers hampered the drive as well. However, the Centre’s arrested further slow down by revoking this decision. It was smooth sailing thereafter.

Like the rest of the country, Nagaland too faced vaccine shortage and hesitancy during the initial stages but the state has managed to administer 11.57 lakh doses till date with many villages achieving 100% coverage. Credit for achieving this milestone in the state as well as the country goes to healthcare workers who worked tirelessly for the people since the pandemic broke out. Some even had to walk on foot for miles to inoculate villagers in remote areas. They did it all without a word of complain. They are no doubt the heroes. The state and central governments also deserve praise for this massive drive, which is crucial for gaining back normalcy. Besides making the vaccine available to the states, initiatives like vaccination registration portal CoWIN are praiseworthy. It had its share of hitches due to poor internet connection in hill stations and rural areas but it immensely helped in enabling the drive reach this far.

Despite reaching the 100-crore mark, India has miles to go before fully vaccinating its citizens with only 75% of the eligible adult population having received the first dose and about 31% both doses, as per official sources. The country is second globally, only next to China, in terms of total doses administered so far but many countries are ahead in terms of vaccine coverage. For instance, China has fully inoculated about 75% of its population, while it is 58% for the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. It is to be seen if India will achieve its target of fully vaccinating all eligible members of the population by the end of this year but we will get there in a few months if the current pace is maintained and citizens come forward to avail it. The journey to recovery will be longer if the pace of vaccination is slowed down.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 21, 2021 11:45:18 pm