The Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) green signal for Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII), and indigenously-developed Covaxin by Bharat Biotech to be put to emergency use has set the stage for world’s biggest vaccination drive in India.
The controller’s approval came following the recommendations by the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, expedited in view of the public heal the mergency and the new strain making its presence in many countries.
The emergency use nod marks a turning point in India’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic and puts the country on threshold of becoming the biggest manufacturer of a vaccine totally based on indigenous efforts. India’s credentials of being the biggest maker of vaccines was already acknowledged by the world but making a vaccine on its own, right from scratch, gives a different aura to the scientists of the country and a wonderful credibility to Indian role in the top order.
While there are debates and political jabs over the emergency use approval to the two vaccines, the scientists and healthcare machinery need to skirt it as regular reckless behaviour of politicians in the country. The shallowness in their conduct on a national achievement of monumental proportions is evident from the poor statement from Samajwadi Party chief Mr. Akhilesh Yadav who has refused to take the “BJP vaccine”. Mr. Yadav’s bad understanding of the situation is clearly reflected in his boorish behaviour and petty jabata top break through. A watershed moment in India’s battle against COVID-19 is being termed as premature
by some political actors.
An intellectual like Mr. Shashi Tharoor questioning the approval and some Congress leaders raising concern over the green signal affirms that the Opposition has a sole agenda of deriding any decision taken by the Government.
The DCGI has taken its own sweet time to weigh the efficacy of the clinical trials conducted by the vaccine candidates. Data on safety and drug reaction in all three phases of trials was mandatory for a thorough study before granting the emergency use approval. The drugs regulatory authority cannot behave in a cavalier manner and put a huge population at risk.
Finding a political angle in the nod to the two vaccines reeks of a pathetic agenda that will only malign the country’s image. The larger society needs to ignore such irresponsible and unwelcome statements by a few jaundice-eyed political elements. Keeping aside the political part, the spotlight now turns to public health measures for the mass immunisation programme.
India has already conducted successful dry runs across the country to check its inoculation preparedness. While magnitude of the actual exercise is too big, the dry run has put the health and administrative machinery in action mode with an advanced opportunity to iron out flaws in the system.
Going by the history of the polio doses and other large scale vaccination programmes in the vast lands capes, the COVID-19 shot administration is also likely to result in a smooth sailing.
The question now is availability of enough doses in the market, its price mechanism, distribution network and storage facilities. Officials have already marked the target group for first dose of the vaccines, likely in February-end or March. The next step is a crucial examination for the healthcare infrastructure.
Keeping a tab on the candidates with the first dose is a tedious job and requires an unprecedented data drive in the country’s public health history. Experts have suggested that some candidates are likely to develop side-effects which will determine administering of the second dose.
Already the world is witnessing different opinions on the second dose of vaccines. Scientists in India have suggested a 28-day gap between the first and second doses but the United Kingdom has already opted to delay the second dose over safety concerns. These are delicate issues that will come up after the public roll-out of the vaccine. India has the shot ready, now it needs to guard against unpredictability of the virus.