It is kickstarted. 56.5 lakh doses of vaccine are getting transported to major cities. Any vaccine roll-out in any nation certainly speaks for the accomplishment of its scientific community primarily. In a country as vast and populous as India, the vaccine drive like the one being initiated to inoculate the population against the COVID-19 speaks about many capabilities of a nation in terms of logistics, planning, the value system it displays, and ultimately the strength of the political leadership of this country.
Civil aviation sector launches yet another momentous mission.
Vaccine movement starts.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) January 12, 2021
Many of you would remember that after a few months of the global spread of the Coronavirus, there were many who had argued that New Zealand provided a successful model in containing the spread. Many on social media had even gone to an extent to suggest that India should learn from that nation. All such analyses and criticisms forgot to make a comparison at scales, considering the fact that New Zealand has less than 50 lakh population, less than Chennai.
Now see the scale on which India operates. At 56 lakh doses, the first batch of vaccine doses themselves will cover more than the population of New Zealand.
The Political Leadership
Whether it is removing obstacles from the regulatory procedures or encouraging the scientific community in the process of cracking the vaccine issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been hands on since the beginning. When indications began to emerge about the arrival of the vaccine, he was quick to lay down the roadmap for its effective distribution. You may read a detailed account in our article PM Modi Reviews Vaccine Development for Covid-19: How the Effort Received Assistance at Every Stage.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi displayed the leadership needed in the hour of need by clearly specifying the groups that receive the vaccine shot in the first phase, putting the health workers on the top. Next comes the frontline workers like Safai karmacharis, police, home guard, disaster management volunteers, officers involved in containment duties etc. Then comes the turn of 50 years above population by the time other vaccines may also arrive.
Clearly spelling it out in his interaction with the Chief Ministers, PM Modi made it clear that the political class and influential people will not get priority, and also warned about the rumors being spread about vaccination.
It is also about providing a level-playing field for all who invested in vaccine research and development. As the PM himself informed, many other vaccines are also at various stages of development. If they become successful, they also need to get a chance to reach the people, as every vaccine involves money and time. India’s orderly roll-out of the vaccine by prioritising the groups within the population gives a chance for other contenders too a chance.
The Value System
The above-explained prioritisation also speaks about the value system that the country is displaying. It is not according to the ‘positions’ that one holds nor the money power that decides who gets the vaccine first.
It is for the health workers and the frontline warriors who fought the battle for us, putting their lives at risk.
It is interesting to note that a stamp in the corner of vaccine dispatch expressing the intent with a line “sarve santu niramayaha”, i.e., “let everyone get relief” (disease-free). This may be a small gesture, but reflects the value system that India inherits.
सर्वे सन्तु निरामया:।
प्राचीन भारतीय प्रज्ञता को आगे बढ़ाते हुए तथा प्रत्येक देशवासी को #COVID19 से सुरक्षित रखने हेतु, #AAI के @aaipunairport से #Covishield वैक्सीन के 56 बक्सों का पहला despatch देश के विभिन्न हवाई अड्डों पर भेजा गया। #आत्मनिर्भरभारत #स्वस्थभारत की ओर अग्रसर। pic.twitter.com/78gdtEbgti
— Airports Authority of India (@AAI_Official) January 12, 2021
Transparency is the hallmark of any initiative taken by the Modi government. This has been evident in the vaccine roll-out too. A technology platform CoWIN has been designed for the purpose of avoiding proxies and facilitating the transparent roll-out of the vaccine. When the vaccination reaches further phases in which the masses at large will undergo vaccination considering the age and comorbidity issues, CoWIN is expected to play a major role in registration, bringing ease and transparency in the process.