COVID-19 New Wave: Vaccine Shortfall and Impending Economic Crisis
We are back to square one in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
We are back to square one in the fight against the novel coronavirus. After claiming victory against COVID-19, both, government and the public, made big mistakes.
The issue of vaccine shortage can’t be covered by blaming public for their indiscipline.
Everyday average of new cases has been increasing exponentially. This second wave of the virus has seen a record high of 1.26 lakh new cases a day. Active cases have neared the 9 lakh mark.
We can't undermine the rising infection by reasoning that the rate of death is low.
Why are the infections on the rise?
New virus strain seems more infectious. Although medical infrastructure has remained intact, it is inadequate to the needs of the new surge.
While administrations are responding with newer restrictions and lockdowns, the contact tracing machinery has become inefficient.
People who are going out are unaware if they are also virus carriers or not. Young and economically active populace are getting more infected in the new wave. This group consists of people in the age group between 20-50 and comprise 57 percent of the total population.
People still have the same questions about the virus that they had one year ago.
It is worthless to make any conclusive assumptions on this virus as it has been deceptive with its nature.
We should conduct ourselves with the assumption that the cases may rise further.
The economy will suffer immensely if the infections are not controlled at the earliest. This financial year is getting a stressed start and the service sector would be badly impacted if the new restrictions continue to get stricter.
While it is important to break the chain by adhering to the COVID protocols, it is vaccination that would be the most effective shield.
What's the status on vaccination?
As of 7 April, India has exported 6.5 crore vaccines and administered 9 crore vaccine doses within the country.
India has vaccinated 5.5% of the total population. While richer countries like USA and UK are prioritising their people over exports. The two countries have vaccinated 30% and 47% of their population, respectively.
India’s biggest vaccine manufacturer Pune’s Serum Institute is facing issues in their production, as well as shortage of funds.
We saw vaccine centres getting shut because of shortage in the stock.
With the tussle between the Centre and Maharashtra coming to surface, we are also seeing the politics that is being played behind the vaccines.
This pandemic should be spared from the state-Centre politics. Vaccines should be distributed proportionately to all the states. This virus is affecting the whole country, not just a few states.
Some migrant labourers in Maharashtra have once again started returning to their homes and it may be possible that they are carrying new virus strain to other parts of the country.
Why are vaccines from foreign manufacturers not receiving approval in India? What is wrong in opening up the private sector for vaccines?
We had earlier seen that private sector got a delayed entry in COVID testing and we saw the benefits of allowing private sector to conduct the tests.
Similarly, opening up vaccine imports and allowing private sector in vaccination could prove beneficial.
Reserve Bank of India has said that economic recovery depends on the pace of vaccination. If our service sector continues to suffer, the path to recovery would be patchy.
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