Speeding Up the Jab
The second wave of Covid-19 is creating havoc around the country and authorities are struggling hard to find a suitable way to check the spread of the virus. The Centre in an order has given the states enough power to take effective steps to combat the menace. As the situation has turned grim, the Maharashtra Government is planning to enforce lockdown once again after repeated requests to follow the Covid-19 safety protocols have fallen on deaf ears. Down south, Karnataka is also facing the resurgence of this lethal virus and though the state is not thinking of imposing lockdown, it is going all out to enforce safety rules. Punjab is banking on night curfew to keep the situation under control. Things can likely get out of hand in states like West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the second wave has come at a bad time for these states as campaigning is in full swing for the forthcoming Assembly elections. Experts are fearing rapid spread of infection due to crowding in these states. Considering the situation, experts have predicted that the second Covid-19 wave may reach the peak by the end of next month. At present, it seems that the only way to prevent the spread of the infection is to launch a mass vaccination drive. It is important to note that India is in the forefront of inventing vaccines against Covid-19. Already, two vaccines are being utilised to provide the much-needed shield to the citizens against this communicable disease. So far, no adverse reaction of the vaccines have been reported from anywhere and thus, launching the vaccination drive with renewed vigour should not be a problem.
Even before the vaccines were rolled out, the Centre had drawn up a detailed plan to keep the death rate as low as possible. The plan was largely successful until the arrival of the second wave, but now there is a need to adapt the plan to the latest situation. Under the earlier plan, senior citizens, persons employed in public services and the persons with co-morbidity were given preference. However, it was later found that at least 30 per cent of vaccines were wasted as people were not forthcoming. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed serious concern over the wastage in a meeting with the Chief Ministers, after which it was decided that persons above 45-years of age would become eligible for vaccination. But as per the present situation, the Centre should give consent to the demand to withdraw the age limit to prevent the wastage of vaccines. Tamil Nadu has already gone one step forward by lifting the age criterion, vaccination in that state will now be carried out on a first come first serve basis. Other states too can follow the Tamil Nadu example. Whilst states are waiting endlessly for unwilling people to change their minds, the invaluable vaccines are simply being wasted. The immunisation process may never be completed and the virus will continue its killing spree unabated if we do not push forth the speed of inoculation.