The COVID-19 coup should be made free for everyone in India to increase uptake and curb the death toll from the infection, experts urge a personal view (comment) published in online journal BMJ Global Health.
And the approval of foreign vaccines already deployed in other parts of the world should be accelerated as a matter of urgency, argue the authors of the ICMR-National Institute for Malaria Research and the Indian Medical Research Council of New Delhi .
India now reports the largest daily number of COVID-19 infections in the world amid a critical shortage of hospital beds, ICU beds, medicines, fans, oxygen and medical staff.
Although international aid is poured into the country and the authorization of emergency use for various vaccines, poor production planning and the deployment of home-grown vaccines means that India does not have enough vaccines to vaccinate. do so, according to the authors. Only about 3% of the population has been vaccinated.
While there are plans to significantly increase production of the Covaxin and Covishield vaccines, it is possible that this year the target of vaccinating around 1 billion people will not yet be reached, the authors warn.
“As any protection conferred by the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to take at least two weeks after the two doses, and in high demand, India will require many more vaccine sources in the coming days and weeks to curb current increase in infections “. they write.
These charge between $ 3 and $ 15, which means very few people can afford that cost. “Therefore, to cause COVID-19, vaccinations must be free for all in India,” the authors insist.
Another complication is that when the Indian government decided to reduce the age criteria for the puncture, 50% of the vaccines were purchased for its 36 states specifically for those over 45, and the other half they were acquired by state governments and private hospitals for the elderly 18-44.
Therefore, state governments have allowed themselves to negotiate costs, which are higher than those negotiated by the government. For example, a dose of Covaxin costs the central government about $ 2, up from about $ 5.4 for state governments and about $ 16 for private hospitals, they point out.
“This differential price is likely to be detrimental to Public health they argue, in this time of severe crisis in India, “creating an unfair distribution and potentially provoking public distrust.”
“For India to curb COVID-19, the nation cannot afford any differential approach for its residents,” they write.
And in an attempt to create an infrastructure for adult vaccination records and make sure no one gets lost, the Indian government has forced pre-registration through a mobile app. But only a third of people in rural areas have an Internet connection, the authors note. A simple vaccination card may be a better option, they suggest.
The Indian government has committed about $ 120 million for research into the COVID-19 vaccine, most of which is used to increase vaccine production, investing the rest in candidates for new vaccines, including those against variant strains. .
“However, government-committed funding is far from adequate,” the authors warn. “This will be worrying in scenarios where a third booster shot is required. Therefore, India needs a corpus of funds for the previous one to cover all future vaccine deployment contingencies,” they argue.
“India may need to re-establish its vaccination strategies, improve the level of competence in pandemic management and stimulate bureaucratic machinery so that vaccine equity can be achieved in a very short period of time, ”they conclude.
The COVID-19 vaccination program in India needs a shot in the arm with urgency and sustainability, BMJ Global Health, DOI: 10.1136 / bmjgh-2021-006324
British Medical Journal
Citation: Make COVID jab free for everyone in India to increase catchment and curb the death toll (2021, June 1) recovered on June 1, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021 06-covid-jab-free-india-boost .html
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