High on vaccine optimism, the governments across the globe are working with vigour to ensure a hassle-free distribution of the most precious vial in contemporary times. In Jammu and Kashmir, the top administrators have held back to back meetings to meet the endeavor and also ensure the delivery within a time-bound manner across the J&K.
The Covid-19 vaccines are currently in the third phase of clinical trials and will be available for usage soon, possibly in the next few weeks. To effectively deliver the vaccines, the government has rightly stressed need for undertaking a detailed micro-planning regarding vaccination sites, cold chain storage points, and logistics requirements.
Given the official statements, it appears that the administration has also identified priority groups—healthcare workers both in government and private establishments, and frontline workers including armed forces, home guards, police, volunteers and municipal workers.
The next group that could be taken up for vaccination would comprise persons above the age of 50 years, and persons with co-morbidities followed by the remaining population, as per the official statement. One would expect the government to revisit the priority list by including teachers and allied staff as it would help to reopen schools earlier than expected.
The government has rightly focused on maintenance of the cold chain throughout the distribution channels as also need to have dedicated manpower.
It is imperative that the existing arrangements for Covid-19 testing and routine immunization drives for children and pregnant women are not adversely affected as and when the covid-19 vaccination drive is carried out.
For the pandemic to be essentially ‘over’, the large majority of the citizens need to be vaccinated. The rollout of the vaccine is a test for public health officials who have been already at the forefront of the fight against the pestilence. One important job at their hand is to convince people to be patient. There is also a need to promote transparency about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. The officials also must be open about sharing their internal process on deciding on the vaccine priority list. There is also a need to be cogent regarding spurious vaccine and the government must ensure to be ready on that front also.
Till the vaccine is available to all, there is a need for adherence to the safety norms by the average citizen in letter and spirit. The poor compliance can only jeopardise the future plans even with the vaccine available.