Indian Vaccines: A ‘Silver Lining’

by Shatakshi Gupta

This year started with a ray of hope in the form of vaccination. Corona vaccination drive has started in the nation. More than 30 crore population will be inoculated by July. Besides India, there are only two countries in the world with a population of more than 300 million. The COVID-19 spread much less in India than both the US and China, a big thanks goes to eating habits in India, which has given tremendous immunity to us.  India should also be proud that for the first time it is giving this vaccine free to the people who are health and service workers and many of them have sacrificed themselves in public service.

 India is the leading the world in vaccine making for infectious diseases. But nowadays there are various questions on two of its vaccines. Four lakh people have been vaccinated in the last few days. Among them 500 people suffered a bit, who also get recovered.

 But in the world of digitisation rumours spread like wildfire. On the third day of vaccination, the number of vaccine recipient decreased significantly. If the efficacy of the vaccine is doubtful, does the director of All India Institute of Medical Science not know about it? Why did he took this vaccine on the first day?  Member of NITI Aayog and MD of Serum Institute, Pune got the vaccine on the first day, how much more reliability needed?  Isn’t it proof that the country’s top health workers themselves took the vaccine?

 Now many give argument why the President and Prime Minister did not get the vaccine first. If they were first vaccinated, millions of people would have been inspired, such as the American leader Joe Biden, the Pope and the Queen of Britain did take the vaccine. But Prime Minister Modi’s view is also logical that the turn of the leaders will come later, first the health workers get a chance. Leaders are always ahead of everyone in taking advantage of anything, from this point of view, Modi’s logic is fine, but if he himself and the President took the vaccine first, the enthusiasm of this vaccine would have awakened the minds of crores of people of the country. Though, it is not too late, they still can take it and inspire others to do so. After the health workers, if the leaders get this vaccine, then it would be in line with the Article 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution.

It is also a concern before the government that who among 140 crore people should be given vaccine first? After health workers, now this vaccine will be given to those who are more than 50 years of age, because they are more vulnerable. If this vaccine is given free or at a low cost to the people then it will be a great move of this government because there are more number of labourers, farmers, villagers and poor people who can not afford the costly vaccine. However,  these Indian vaccines are the cheapest in the world. The cost of foreign vaccines is from 5 to 10 thousand rupees while our vaccines will be available for 200 to 300 rupees only. If the government wants to sell these vaccines to private hospitals for a thousand and a half thousand rupees, they can use that money to distribute free vaccines.

indian doctors

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 Anyway, in the last two-three weeks, sliver lining is visible in almost all the states of the country. Special beds for COVID-19 patients in hospitals remain empty. Now school-colleges are also opening. Crowd on roads and markets has increased.

 On diplomatic front, use of these Indian vaccines will increase India’s soft power among neighbouring countries. Apart from Pakistan, all the countries of SAARC are hopeful that the Indian vaccine will come to rescue for them. It is also cheap and easy to store. India will soon give around 10 million vaccines to these neighbouring countries. Both these vaccines of India have created a boom in the world.  South Africa and Brazil are also sourcing them. No wonder Pakistan too started demanding it. Pakistan may have ordered it via Kabul or Dubai. This vaccine of Corona will enhance the goodwill of our nation to a great extent.

India can use this situation in its favour form UNSC membership to bilateral trade relations with countries. This moment is also very pivotal in boosting pharma sector of India. If we harness the opportunity fully, then after corona India will be emerged as a great super power in the world.