Should India open vaccination for all?


  • Opening vaccinating for everyone is impossible.
  • We need more doses where supply is not up to the mark. Ramp up!
  • Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna has their own problems to be available in India.

March 23, 2020.

Indian Government enforced a stringent lockdown on Indian citizens, considering the global trend and uncertainty of Covid-19 disease.

Lockdown had a significant impact on people's lives especially marginalized, daily migrant labor. There are stories, documentaries on how people walked more than 1000+ km to save themselves from hunger.

Indian Government did provide needed groceries through the public distribution system, but the sad part of it, it is only available in their home states where migrant labor originally live.

Perhaps with the right intention, many decisions that were taken did not transcend well to the ground situation: the resultant created chaos, rumors, and misinformation.

We're now very far from that situation, and things got way better than they used to be in the first half of 2020.

We might be in for a disastrous second wave, and people are NOT worried like last time. The impending wave will crush more people than before.

Vaccination Programme

Fortunately, we have an ongoing vaccination program for the last few months, and it has been just going ok, vaccinating 65 million people in few months. Still, it is not enough for a country with more than a billion people.

There are two approved vaccines in India by the drug regulatory authority. Some others like Pfizer, Moderna were not given approvals because of the lack of trials on the Indian citizens or failure in providing the data asked the regulatory authority.

Two approved vaccines are Covishield and Covaxin. Covishield is manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune, initially researched by Oxford-AstraZeneca. Covaxin, on the other hand, is produced by an Indian firm called Bharat Biotech, researched, developed, and made in India. I got my parents, and all eligible family members vaccinated with Covaxin.

Second Wave of Covid-19

India is witnessing a massive surge in the number of cases. Definitely blame it on people who did not follow Covid-19 safety protocols. I'm not talking about people who went out to restaurants, movies, trips. But this is about practicing safe distance, wearing masks, and not mocking those who practice it.

Everyone now, including famous journalists who are always quite critical of government, asks the Indian Govt to open vaccination for everyone. There are many reasons why it will not work if we open up vaccines for everyone in India. I'll talk about it in the below sections.

Vaccine Strategy

The current vaccine strategy is not the best, but also not the worst of all.

Indian Government vaccinating everyone above 45 years of age starting with April 1st. Government is holding the neck of the ballon and allowing only the eligible to get vaccinated. There are loopholes in this strategy too, like not allowing anyone who has a life-threatening health condition to take a vaccine irrespective of age.

For example, a friend of mine who is around 35+ years of age lost both kidneys, including the transplanted ones, and use a liquid to conduct regular dialysis at home. He definitely needs a vaccine to visit the hospital in case of emergencies to be safe, but he is not eligible.

Besides, Government also has to deal with the supply side issue of vaccines. It is not like we have vaccines available for all Indians; SII is manufacturing 2 million doses per day. India is doing 3million jabs per day.

We could import vaccines by spending more money.

But things to remember,

  • Both Pfizer and Moderna were unable to supply enough vaccines to European Union.
  • They did not conduct vaccine trials on our population, and we don't know the potential side effects.
  • These vaccines are not cheap too.
  • We need to wait in the queue line now.

Many were missing facts like large swaths of population India has 97 crore, that is, 970 million people under 30 years of age. This way, we need 2 billion doses of vaccine. While the needy and folks who are facing dire health conditions are standing in a queue with everyone.

To Conclude - let's motivate 💉

Rather than in-fighting, we should motivate people who are eligible to take the vaccine quickly, help the govt to achieve the intended target of vaccinating 350 million people by July.

Covid Safety Hygeine

Govt should work on ramping up production quickly, helping SII and Bharat Biotech.

Lastly, vaccines can't save us from Covid-19 to occur. They are there to give us a fighting chance, especially for the elderly, folks with co-morbidities.