With three firms confirming the efficiency of their vaccines and its ability to cure the patients, the world now confronts its next challenge of vaccine distribution, and we will look into how is India going to distribute Covid vaccine to its large population?
World Health Organization already came out with its COVAX mechanism so as to ensure parity in the distribution of the vials.
Though whether the unbiased rationing and dispersal are actually attained or not, still remains a far fetched question.
Every country is preparing itself for the forthcoming challenge of covid vaccine distribution, and so does India, It is oiling and greasing its logistics so as to ensure quick delivery of the covid vaccine to locals. The goal is simple and vivid: uproot the crippling and fulminant virus from their country.
India, a second seat procurer in terms of population, is gearing up to set up an effective and well-organized vaccine delivery regime. Though the population is a stumbling block but innovation has always been our forte.
The current population of India is 1.3 billion which makes 17.7% of the world population, A significant tranche of it lives in absolute desolation and poverty. Hence making a distribution system such that the covid vaccine reaches the bottom of the hierarchy is very important.
India scheme for covid vaccine distribution to its population
The Centre after procuring the vaccine aims to first make it distribution free of charge to the priority groups, Centre along with States and Union territories governments shall initiate the process of identifying around 30 crore priority beneficiaries of India
These priority groups shall be given the covid vaccine in the initial phase. The government has divided the initial phase priority group into four categories- around 1 crore healthcare professionals including doctors, MBBS students, nurses etc.; around 2 crore frontline workers including municipal corporations workers, personnel of the police and armed forces; about 26 crores aged above 50 years and a special group of those aged below 50 years with co-morbidities and requiring specialized care.
The existing digital platform, Universal Immunization Programme, will be resorted for delivery of the covid vaccine. The system will be enhanced so as to track the vaccine movement and administration.
Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)
With UIP in play, adolescents, children and pregnant women are entitled to get vaccinated against vaccine preventable diseases by state at free of cost.
The novel arrangement as designed and framed by the government of India for covid vaccine distribution to its population shall run in parallel with UIP. But the network and technology of the existing vaccine distribution will also be used.
Health Minister of India Dr Harsh Vardhan told, “We have an established infrastructure for supply, storage and distribution of covid vaccines to the last mile, under our Universal Immunization Programme, where we are administering around 600 million doses to children every year”.
Stocking the covid vaccine
According to the details dispersed by the health ministry, eVIN network shall be restructured and modified. This will help them track the latest vaccine stock position, the temperature at the storage facility, geo-tag health centres, and maintain the facility-level dashboard. But what is eVIN network?
What is eVIN network?
Initiated in October 2015, it is a domestically developed technology piece which digitizes the vaccine stocks. Also it helps in keeping a watch on the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application.
Currently, it is implemented in only twelve states in India, But the system is worth having a look at because it can make covid vaccine distribution to India population easy, The idea is to brace the government’s UIP by extending real-time information on vaccine stocks, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in these states.
This set up offers smoother logistics operations and promises efficiency. Although the cities and states are cluttered with narrow roads and remote regions, the network will help to achieve the goal to some extend.
Conclusion of how India is going to ensure covid vaccine distribution to its population
India is titled as the largest buyer of vaccine doses in the world. According to US-based Duke University Global Health Innovation Center it has placed an order of 1.6 billion vaccine doses. 500 million are of AstraZeneca vaccine, 100 million of Sputnik V candidate from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute and 1 billion from the US company Novavax
Although two of them haven’t got the approval yet but the numbers are worth registering. Such an enormous quantity of vaccine doses are to be systematically dispersed among the locals.
Immunologist Satyajit Rath from the National Institute of Immunology (NII) in New Delhi told “The next set of uncertainties I have is whether there are credible and well-worked out plans in India to match these delivery schedules with downstream transport, uptake and actual vaccination, plans for multi-stage transport, multi-point cold storage, provision of injection accessories…, the recording-keeping needed and most of all, the skilled personnel to administer the injections.”
Innovation, strategical planning and unbiased outlook is what that is required at table of discussion for logistics.
Though India is densely populated it has the calibre to map an efficient dispersal framework. This will be the biggest challenge for India undoubtedly as the existing logistics chains are not so well run.