Challenges in Delivery of COVID-19 Vaccine

In News

Experts say that the delivery of CoVID-19 vaccines poses a huge challenge.

In-Detail

  • The government announced the distribution of the COVID vaccine under the COVID-19 immunization programme.
  • The government will procure and distribute the vaccine to four categories of people, free of cost.
  • The first category is for healthcare workers which include doctors, nurses, and ASHA workers.
  • The second category is for frontline workers which includes police and armed forces.
  • The third category is for citizens above 50 years of age.
  • The final category is for below 50 years of age with co-morbidities.
  • Experts say that hard choices are to be made when there is an insufficient supply of vaccines.
  • Deciding whom to distribute will become difficult such as the ones that are more effective to the vaccine is the younger population than the elder one and whom to choose first.
  • The government may allow companies to purchase vaccines for the maintenance of business continuity.

Temperature Requirements

  • The COVID vaccines are to be distributed at ultralow temperatures.
  • Most of the COVID vaccines are RNA vaccines which are in the advanced Stage of Phase-3 trials and require -70 degree C to -80 degree C cold chain.
  • The COVID vaccine is similar to the EBOLA vaccine which requires the same kind of cold storage.
  • The Ebola vaccine storage was difficult to establish in countries like West Africa.
  • Experts say that how feasible is it to distribute the vaccines in the US, UK, and in India where tens and hundreds of million doses are required.
  • Scientists are modifying the vaccines and increase their ability to match with the storage conditions in the other parts of the world.

Resources

  • For continuous supply of vaccines, the resources required are the storage requirements and building infrastructures for ultracold storage.
  • India does not have this kind of storage as it requires freezers along with an uninterrupted power supply.
  • So for the delivery of the vaccine, there is a need to consider the logistics and infrastructure which goes beyond the financial resources to purchase vaccines.
  • The next biggest challenge is vaccinating people.
  • For the best results, people are vaccinated with two doses for four weeks.
  • This is much similar to polio and rubella campaigns.

Adults and Children

  • The National Immunisation Programme is limited to vaccinating children and this should be taken into consideration.
  • COVID-19 vaccine will be given to all ages including the older people.
  • The vaccines are prioritized according to the groups identified by the government.
  • The vaccines are available only in the public sector in the initial stage
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