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All You Need To Know About Vaccination Drive And Why The Open Sale Of The Vaccine Is Prohibited Now

Representative Image. (AP Photo.)

Representative Image. (AP Photo.)

The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the vaccination programme on January 16, and health workers were given the priority.

Now this question is being asked after health workers and frontline workers have been vaccinated, when common people will get vaccinated against the Coronavirus. Soon this question will be answered. The Modi government is all set to announce a grand plan for the vaccination of those people who are above 50 as Corona is more fatal for them. However, now those who were thinking that they will get vaccinated early as they can afford the cost will be disappointed.

When will they get vaccinated, people are asking

It’s more than a month since the Modi government launched the vaccination plan against Coronavirus. Now people are asking if it is possible that the government makes this vaccine available to all or what stops the government from making the vaccine available to those people who can afford it. Some people also raise this issue, if the government should engage the private sector to speed up the vaccination drive or what about those companies or organisations who can get their staff vaccinated and pay for it, will they be allowed this luxury and what at all is the problem in this, if any.

Who will get vaccinated, a million dollar question


This question is raised everywhere on social media. People are eagerly waiting for their turn. It is not possible that in a country of 1.30 billion people, everybody will get vaccinated in no time. But in many quarters this question is being raised as to why the private sector is not being engaged in vaccination drive. But then, everyone has one or other question. This is also being asked, when leaders, ministers, parliamentarians and MLAs will get vaccinated. And the biggest of all the questions is what will be the basis of getting a vaccine shot and when will the turn come.

Vaccination started with health workers and frontline workers

The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the vaccination programme on January 16, and health workers were given the priority. As naturally, doctors, nurses needed the vaccine most as they were handling the Corona cases for the past year and had put their lives in danger in the line of their duty to protect the people. After this, on February 2, the vaccination of frontline workers started. They are the ones who have been shouldering the responsibility of protecting the people from this deadly virus along with the health workers. Be that making people follow the norm of social distancing or making them wear masks and controlling people’s movements, they have been everywhere. State governments have identified people who are to get vaccine shots and this includes police personnel, home guard constables and also municipal and revenue department officials. They have all ensured containment of the spread of Coronavirus and there have been no let-up in this till not.

1.17 crore people have already been vaccinated

Till Monday, 1.17 crore people have already been vaccinated under the drive started. 1.05 crore people have been given the first dose while 12 lakh people have been given the second dose. As per the rule, the second dose is administered only after one month of the first dose. Obviously, those health workers who got their first dose on 16 January 16, now they are getting their second dose.

Soon those above 50, will get vaccinated

As is natural, the question is being asked, who will get the vaccine shot next. Now those above 50 will get the vaccine shot. According to the data available with the Centre, there are around 26 crore people above the age of 50. Now in this age segment, priority will be given to those who are above 60. Experts have found that people above the age of 50 are more vulnerable to the Corona infection. Young and children were least affected by Corona infection. If younger people got affected, in most cases they came home cured.

People with comorbidity and in the below-50 age group are also in the priority list of the government for vaccination. It has been seen that those who have blood sugar or their hearts or kidneys are compromised then Corona may prove fatal for them. There are around one crore people with comorbidity in the below 50 age group in the country. Such people may get the vaccine in the next round so that they could be saved from getting infected by the Coronavirus.

Private sector is also being engaged

Many people think that the private sector is being kept away from the vaccination drive. But the data suggests otherwise. The 10,000 hospitals, where health workers have been vaccinated, also included 2,000 private hospitals. Even doctors and other health workers in private hospitals also got the vaccination shot in the first round itself and they were not discriminated against. Even in the next round of vaccination, the private sector will be engaged when around 27 crore people will get their vaccine shots.

Not capability, necessity is the basis of vaccination

Many companies and organisations had planned to get their staff vaccinated after the arrival of the vaccine was announced. But the norms that are in play do not allow this. The Modi government’s clear thinking is that only those will get vaccinated first who need it most and not those who can afford to buy it. It’s not that those who have money will get it but those who are poor will be left behind. That is why the open sale of the vaccine is prohibited.

Nowhere in the world, vaccine is sold in the open market

It’s not that the open sale of the vaccine is prohibited only in India. It’s happening the world over. Nowhere in the world this vaccine is available in the open market. This vaccine is administered on the basis of Emergency Use Authorisation. Seeing the severity of the coronavirus, all the governments of the world allowed the use of this vaccine without waiting for the stage three trial efficacy data. That is why it is called Emergency Use Authorisation. So when a vaccine dose is being administered under Emergency Use Authorisation, it cannot be granted open market access. But this does not mean that this vaccine is not safe. If a vaccine is safe or not, this becomes clear at the stage two trial test. During the stage 3 trial, its efficacy is broadly studied which is not possible at stage 2. But seeing the severity of the Coronavirus, all the governments of the world allowed the Emergency Use Authorisation of this virus so that precious lives of those people could be saved who are more vulnerable to its infection. Considering this, the Drugs Controller General of India allowed the use of the two vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.

Control also to ensure only needy should get the vaccine

Along with the Emergency Use Authorisation norm, the government also wanted to ensure that the only ones who should get a vaccine first who need it most. Amidst the challenges of production, if its sale was allowed in the open market, there was every chance that the vaccine would end up in the black market. This would have led the large scale hoarding of the vaccine. Those who needed it most would not have got it while those with money could have purchased it from the black market. As was obvious, the Modi government could not allow this. So it was decided that the government would exercise control over the vaccine and it would be administered to the needy people under the watch of the state governments.

Government has mass vaccination means

People are asking if the government is capable of achieving the rapid vaccination goal and does the government have such a large infrastructure and trained manpower. If sources in the government are to be believed, the government would not find it difficult to achieve the goal. There are solid reasons to back this confidence. Actually, people forget that every year around 60 crore people are administered vaccines and this is accomplished with the government infrastructure. This includes children and pregnant women. From Pulse Polio to Indradhanush Yojna, every year half of the population becomes part of the vaccination programme. So the government has all the experience needed to implement this plan. Apart from this, there are around 90 lakh health workers in government and private sector combined. With the help of all these people, all those people who are vulnerable to Corona infection will get their Corona vaccine shot in the year 2021 itself. And if this happens, the challenges for the rest of the young population will be easy to meet. On one side, the number of the people who are vulnerable to the infection will be greatly reduced and on the other hand, by that time India will most likely develop herd immunity and the threat of the Coronavrus will be greatly reduced and it will become as common as influenza fever.

PM Modi too will get vaccine shot

In the next six-seven months, around 28 crore people would be covered in the next round of vaccination which would cover all the leaders, ministers and MPs and MLAs who are in the above 50 age bracket. Obviously, in that case, even Prime Minister Modi will receive his vaccine shot. Leaders in the Opposition have been questioning why Modi himself is not getting vaccinated, if he thinks that the vaccine is so safe. Actually, Modi is sending a big message through even this vaccination drive. And this is this: common people of the country and those who need it most are more important, and not the privileged and VIPs who used to get preference in the previous dispensations on the basis of their power and prestige. Modi has earned laurels in the world in fighting battle with Coronavirus and with this model of vaccination, his fame is set to soar further high in the sky.

first published:February 24, 2021, 12:48 IST