Putting the Most Vulnerable First
The demand made by Haryana’s VVIPs regarding the coveted Covid-19 jabs is unfair to say the least. It is crucial that Covid warriors and other more vulnerable sections of society, who are in danger of being exposed to the virus and are within higher risk groups, receive the vaccine first. Instead of asking to be administered the vaccine first, these powerful individuals must ask themselves if they were physically out during the lockdown period along with Covid warriors to slowdown the spread of the pandemic. Moreover, providing the vaccine to the upper strata of the society will not help us to wipe out coronavirus from its root. To achieve the feat, we have to undertake a very cautious and calculated approach to distribute the vaccine. It is important to understand that due to the sheer volume of India’s population, providing the vaccine to each and every citizen in a single phase is impossible. The vaccine administering process has to be divided into several phases. The Prime Minister has urged the states to prepare the list of persons who should be administered the vaccine first. Most states have already submitted the list to the Union Health ministry. Accordingly, special syringes, needed to inject the vaccine have also been dispatched to the states. Now, as we await the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine, it is unfortunate that one state has not prepared the database according to the plan that the nation has adopted just to favour a selected few. If such a system is followed, the entire purpose of fighting against Covid-19 will be defeated.
Covid-19 is not a disease which one can be fought single-handedly. It’s an infectious disease and the virus mostly spreads through droplets. This is why social distancing and wearing of masks are necessary for everyone to break the chain. For this reason, lockdown was declared despite the knowledge that it would have an adverse impact on our economy and society. All of us have gone through hardships during the said period in varying degrees. Now, after passing through all these hurdles, we must not weaken our resolve to restore normalcy at the earliest. It has been universally recognised that frontline workers including medical professionals, municipal staff, sanitary workers, police and defence personnel should be prioritised in the Covid-19 vaccination list, followed by senior citizens and those individuals with severe health issues. Crucially, it should be noted that in the first phase, India will be able to get only 30 crore vaccines, which is just a small pond in the ocean of India’s nearly 140 crore population. In light of the limited supply of Covid-19 in the first phase of the vaccine administration programme, vaccination efforts must focus on those critical to the response, providing direct care as well as those most susceptible to developing severe illnesses from Covid-19. Pandemic response planning requires collaboration among a wide range of public and private sector partners, all of whom must work in tandem to realise the main goal of curbing the Covid-19 menace and restoring normal societal function.