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Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik, Vaccines-Possible Saviour. These are some of the words that we are hearing everywhere nowadays. Are you vaccinated? Got your Dose? 2nd Dose completed? etc. India is one of the worst affected countries by the Covid-19 pandemic. Apart from wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and washing hands, vaccination is the only way to defeat the coronavirus. This shows the importance of vaccination; not only in India but all over the world.

However, has the Indian government or any state government took the vaccination seriously? My opinion is no. Firstly, the vaccination criteria were changed. There was no clarity on whether the central government would be purchasing the vaccines or the respective state governments. On 7th June 2021, the policy was changed again by the Hon. Prime minister for the third time. On 8th, 3.3% of India’s population stays fully vaccinated while it is 42.11%, 19.2%, 24% in the USA, France, and Spain respectively. For any problem in India, the reasoning is done is based on the base of the huge population, so was it done in this case as well. However, this argument is baseless according to me. If we look at “developed” countries such as Japan and Canada, the number of people fully vaccinated remains only 3.9% and 8.5% respectively. It shows us clearly that this is not a question of the population but the strategy of the government. If the American, French, Israelite, Spanish governments were able to carry out the vaccination rapidly, why not the Indian government?


In my opinion, the main reason is ignorance.
First of all, as per the Ministry of External Affair’s statistics, the number of the vaccine doses exported stands at 6.63 crores. While we can understand the vaccines exported under a contract, what is the reason behind exporting vaccine doses in a such large number as gifts when the people in your own country are dying!


Secondly, the vaccination strategy was changed constantly by both the central and state governments. The vaccination was opened for the age group 18-44 without even taking the number of doses that were available/that would be available. As a result, neither the citizens in the age group 45+ nor the young people were vaccinated fully. For example, the government of Maharashtra announced the vaccination for young citizens and closed it for 10-15 days temporarily due to the unavailability of the doses. When India is one single country, why the rate of vaccines is still different in different states? Why some states prefer the 45+ age group while others 18+? Why certain states are getting more doses in consideration of the population while the others are getting fewer doses? No one has a response. It is only and only due to the unscientific approach towards vaccination and petty politics played by all the political parties.
To continue, certain facts have to be appreciated. As for the State-wise tally, Maharashtra has administered the highest number of first doses among the States with 1,97,48,461 doses. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh at 1,74,71,652 and Rajasthan at 1,47,23,621.


Maharashtra is leading in terms of second doses with 49,32,788 second doses being administered so far in the State. It is followed by Gujarat at 43,62,132 and West Bengal at 39,73,884.
(Source: Ministry for health and family welfare)
The State is also leading in terms of total doses administered with 2,46,81,249 doses, followed by Uttar Pradesh at 2,11,50,258 and Gujarat at 1,89,22,357.


Being the largest population in the world, everyone understands that it is a nearly impossible task to vaccinate 135Crore people fully. To add, the vaccination speed and effectiveness in the first phase (frontline workers and healthcare people) has to be appreciated. That was the right way to carry out a vaccination drive. However, the problem arises afterward. While the British government was ordering the doses for the third shot, the Indian government did not procure the second dose even for 25% of the population. No efforts were made to purchase foreign-made vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna to make the citizens safe.

Domestic Vaccine!

It was a mistake to restrict the drive to just two Made-in-India vaccines: Covishield, the
AstraZeneca Plc shot manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India Ltd., and
Covaxin, an indigenously developed shot produced by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd. The duration between two Covishield doses was increased to 84 days without giving any idea, which might have created confusion.


India’s vaccination drive has also been politicized after the federal government asked the state governments to procure the vaccines. Public health experts and opposition leaders have called on the federal government to run the immunization program instead of delegating it to state governments. However, the right step was taken where the central government will be giving the vaccines, free of cost to everyone.


Finally, it would not be wrong to say that the vaccination strategy of the Indian Government is failed. As mentioned earlier, no scientific approach was used towards the vaccines. When the people were dying and vaccination should have been the most important priority, we were busy with election campaigns and huge religious festivals. The recent steps were taken by the Hon. Prime ministers are correct and if the vaccination is provided by the central government in an adequate quantity, India should be covid-free soon. Taking the example of the USA and Israel, a nation can vaccinate fully its people. Mistakes are done by everyone, but the one who understands them and moves forward wins the race.


• Ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India.
• Henrik Pettersson, Tracking Covid-19 vaccinations worldwide, CNN, July 6, 2021 at 3:48 a.m.

Illustrations By Tanishq Nakra


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