The Health Ministry press conference in New Delhi on Monday should have a higher TV rating than the India-England Test match. 9 million people have not received their first vaccine dose (population: 1.35 billion) this month since the vaccines were launched in India. Ignoring the socio-distance rules, reporters crowded around Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. Vaccines, “Can’t be brought into the open market yet … If some wrong product comes into the market, who’s responsible for it?” How to vaccinate people over 50? What is its price? “There is no clear decision on this yet. The team of experts is discussing a strategy for the next 270 million group,” the health minister said.
As the witty economist Jagdish Bhagwati once wrote about the socialist government of India, “It really makes all the difference in how you see the control system, whether it is from the lens of the person who runs it or from those who run it.” Government statistics are indicative of the policy so far on the vaccine drive: according to the report, the government informed hospitals that the vaccine doses were assigned on the day of their administration, leaving them in a hurry to make arrangements. The Covin portal, at the same time, is more than a fair share of issues.
Thankfully, the appointment of RS Sharma, the founding chief of the Bharat Purana Aadhaar initiative between 2009 and 2013, indicates that by the end of next month the technical glitches will be adequately resolved, with a quarter of a billion people seeking appointments. It may be difficult to address the Centre’s failure to overcome the mentality of shortage of ration vaccines, but the reality is that surplus production is already in place, as India is the world’s vaccine factory. As written by Nandan Nilekani Hindustan Times In August, he said, “We are not delivering a valuable resource, we are trying to deliver fast and very far.” It is suggested that Nilekani be allowed to “vaccinate anytime-anywhere” using Aadhaar or mobile phone identification, where an individual can go to an approved provider of vaccine. He told me that the net should extend to dentists and veterinarians beyond private hospitals.
In the US, for example, those in national networks of pharmacy chains such as Walgreens and CVS and those in Walmart stores are also used to deliver vaccines to a wider population. In the UK, which has the benefit of its national health service, primary care is left to general practitioners to determine who gets the vaccine. Everyone should be committed to giving jobs to people 12 hours a day, seven days a week. With vaccinations per 100 people, the UK is now behind Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Since November, Brigadier Phil Processor, along with 50 military logistics personnel, have been working at NHS headquarters to set up vaccination centers and secure vaccine supplies, according to the Financial Times. The UK, which launched the vaccines on December 8, has crossed 15 million this week.
It may seem like science fiction in India, which, compared to East Asian countries, spends a very small portion of GDP on public health care, not only in the UK, but if the government could draft private hospitals and institutions in areas such as logistics management, India could quickly ramp up. With the now more contagious South African variant in India, we are in a more urgent race against time. Gautam Menon, a professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University, told me that if the government agreed, vaccination sites could be increased five-fold in the next phase, with the current pace, “We can expect 27 to 30 million vaccinations (per month), starting from March, which means about the end of August.” 180 million. “The optimistic estimate is much lower than we need.
The good news is that Bharat Biotech (500 million in 2021), Zidus Cadila (150 million this year) and Sputnik (250 million doses), paired with Dr. Reddy, are moving at an epidemic pace from the Serum Institute, which will produce 2 billion doses by June. But, this paradoxical paradox of private sector ingenuity and public sector plauding is shaping up to make India the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, with New Delhi not trusting the private sector with the huge domestic stockpile of unused vaccines. There may be attempts to raise the prices of private hospitals, but both public opinion and control will keep it under control. Moreover, as the recent Indian Express exposed about fraud in Bihar’s government-Kovid testing regime, the regime is not very clean.
I did not get into this epidemic, but last year my reports raised millions of migrants running home and ining while vaccinating waste was being dumped in warehouses (the way the government manages wheat and rice surplus). If any reader has a number of eminent physicians in a government hospital in New Delhi, please let me know. If that fails, any suggestions for vaccination tourism this summer are welcome.
Rahul Jacob Mint is a columnist and former Financial Times foreign correspondent.