It really does hurt when we come to hear that india is facing acute shortgae of jabs for Covid-19. It is really a matter of serious concern that the largest procucer of vaccine is facing such a grim situation. But before starting the topic, let us consider few points:
- Primarily with India's huge population of around 1.3 billion, it is no joke to produce and inoculate just the adults in such a short time span.
- Secondly, we also need to understand that vaccine manufacturing is an extremely specialized process that cannot be ramped up overnight.
- Thirdly, there are also geographical and transportation bottlenecks also storage facilities because of neglected health sectors for the last few decades that also cannot be ignored.
There may be many genuine standing reasons for vaccine shortage. But having said these, it also worth questioning that why the entire process of vaccinationnot timely planned? What was it waiting for? Where the vaccination process should have been started in war footage, it is now stumbling every now and then. The concened authorities must have realized that what has to be done, has to be done and in time and there is no alternative to it. But no, the lack of farsightedness of the authorities has brought all of us to these dire straits. If they think that delaying the vaccination and concentrating on other things are going to fetch them other mileage as prioitized, then they are awfully wrong.
I feel that the patent could have been waived off at least for a limited time span and at least few more of the capable manufacturing companies (if not all). Hown come it is not realized that it is not going to be practically feasible for two companies to cater the demand for billion populations? The realization was of course there but there was no planning as such for Jabs? What hindered them in meticulous planning? What were they waiting for? Are some questions that will be asked by the general public for a very long time and I presume there will hardly be any noble reason for that.
When the first wave of Covid-19 flattened, the planning for vaccination and how to contain and deal with the second wave should have been started. Its not that it was not started but the urgency or priority was lacking. But no, rather the Govt. at the centre was happy boasting itself for exporting Jabs to other countries which of course they need to do for the sake of humanity at large but first fulfilling its moral obligation towards its own countrymen which unfortunately did not happen as expected. Without even assuring that it had sufficient stock of jabs to meet the domestic requirement and even not realizing that it is going to face severe internal shortage for Jabs. Ignoring the scientific advice for community spread, the govt. allowed week long Kumbh Mela and multi-phased elections in different States for political gain. Now when the super spreader has torn apart human life creating shortage of oxygen leaving people gasping for breath, crematorium and grave yards flooded with dead bodies, scarcity for firewood for pyres resulting in sky rocketing price of fire wood and thousand of dead bodies floating in the Ganges, Indian Govt. seems to wake up for damage control activities and temporarily banned exports of vaccine to bring the pandemic under control.
Its not that nothing has been done by the auhthorities. Efforts were initiated to contain the second wave. But could have definitely been done better had strict guidelines been issued beforehand, had the policy of exporting Jabs be considered consideing the domestic demand, the nation would have had sufficient stock of Jabs to speedily start fully vaccinating at least its adult population. How come the authority not access its internal vaccine requirement before shipping out millions of doses to outside world through its ambitious "Vaccine Maitri"? This is something incomprehensible. Now when the second wave of infections is wreaking havoc in India, the production is unable to meet the demand. Nationwide, thousand of centers are running short of vaccination, people queuing up in hundreds if not thousand further fanning the virus spread. Now the Govt. is trying to ramp up production capacity which should have been done earlier.
It is also understood and accepted that the world needs vaccination but a nation also needs to prioritize it own population first and I suppose it is a united process globally. In this pandemic world and at this juncture vaccine has become a fundamental right for the population of a country. Every single person of a nation has the right for vaccine no matter how rich or poor he or she is. It is the authority to meticulously chalk out the entire vaccination process before hand and move accordingly to contain the virus from spreading. From the very beginning the poor people should have been given free jabs and those who can afford to buy should have been given the option to buy for themselves. Straight and simple. But this did not happen for reason what so ever.
I strongly feel that the nobody was not ignorant of this second wave and also knew about its after affects. It was a deliberate decision to ignore the pandemic second wave and concentrate on other things. The question is why? It's either because they could afford to do so or to be best answered by them. Where a good chunk of the population is poor, voiceless and faceless of the economy, they are partially dependent either on the Govt. freebies or are busy in their daily bread earning job for one square meal a day. Those who can afford to complain or challenge the system don't give a damn. We have lost our conscience and are more happy blaming our misfortune rather trying to find a way out of this filthy system. It is also because the dominating people are getting patronage of one another. This is not something that can be termed as tragedy because it is not about the death of one single person and his or her mourning family, it a mass massacre as a whole and tragedy for families who lost their near and dear ones.
Even when I'm writing this blog, I'm sure there will hardly be any change in the mind of the readers. This is because we the people are selfish in general. When the vaccine will be avaiable to be purchased in the open maket, even then we will find that there will be some people queuing up for free jabs further adding up to the problems for the poor though they can afford to buy.
Let's be humane first and help the poor survive this pandemic.