Covid-19 vaccination: Lack of facilities and other challenges for India
Leading vaccine scientist Gagandeep Kang has said rolling out a Covid-19 vaccine across India’s 1.3 billion-strong population will be the country’s biggest challenge.Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 08:27 IST
Even as worldwide hunt for a novel coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine continues, leading vaccine scientist Gagandeep Kang has said rolling out an eventual vaccine safely across India’s 1.3 billion population will be the country’s biggest challenge in fighting the disease.
A vaccine for the raging pandemic is likely to be ready by early 2021.
Kang, a member of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, said India--which is host to some of the front-runner vaccine clinical trials--has no local infrastructure to go beyond immunising babies and pregnant women. “With senior citizens being most vulnerable, we need to quickly come up with infrastructure to immunise them,” she further said.
Here are some challenges India faces in its vaccination program:
(1.)Storage and distribution: Storage and distribution of vaccine will be a major issue as vaccines are needed across the country, and not just in a particular region. A large number of trained people will be needed for this.
(2.) Lack of infrastructure: Kang further said India does not have the experience of vaccination of people of all age groups. Lack of proper facilities for this will also present a major challenge.
(3.)Low temperature: According to a Forbes report, any coronavirus vaccine needs to be kept at a temperature of -70 degree Celsius. However, in India, most cold chains operate at temperatures up to -30 degree Celsius.
(4.) Questionable testing: Around 50% antigen tests being conducted in India might be false. In such a scenario, wrong data will create a lot of obstacles.
(5.) Rate of infection: The country currently has a positivity rate of 8%. Also, the rate of spread of infection has not slowed down. Due to this, the number of patients is set to increase.
With a tally of more than 5.5 million, India currently has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, after the United States. However, it also has the most recovered cases, contributing 19.5% of total global recoveries, as per the Union health ministry.
(With agency inputs)