Distributing Vaccines Globally - Was India Being Responsible or Foolhardy?

 



The worsening COVID scenario, the scarcity of beds, the dearth of oxygen supplies and the news of all those succumbing to the disease is rather distressing, but none of it is getting as much media coverage as is received by the highly contentious issue of vaccine scarcity in India.

Why is India facing a scarcity of vaccines?

India was amongst the very first countries to begin the research for fighting COVID and began testing their sample vaccines as early as October, 2020.

Prominent Pharma companies namely Serum Institute of India and Pfizer helped assuage the vaccine related apprehensions as they successfully rolled out their efficient first doses.

When more than half of the country had been administered with the 1st dose of either Covaxin or Covidshield, the government with the citizens, let down their guard and slipped into a state of complacency by easing out restrictions on travel and public places.

Amidst such a relaxed scenario, a second wave was inevitable. 

Even after a yearlong fight against the disease, there seems to be no improvement, rather we were on an incessant downward spiral.

Between January 2021 and March 2021, before India officially stepped into the critical second stage, The Modi Government reached out to those countries whose development in relation to the vaccination drive was slower.

As on 1st May, 2021, India has donated approximately 664 Lakh vaccines to a total of 95 countries.

The government resorted to this generous contribution after witnessing a sharp decrease in cases. Helping other countries like Bangladesh, Syria, Egypt and Kuwait seemed to be the correct course of action, especially given the dire need of effective vaccines in these countries.

By distributing these vaccines, India has proved to be a globally responsible country, who saw to how the excess supply in our own country could come to the use of other countries fighting an even harder battle.

Critics analyze and pin down the government

The scarcity of vaccines pan-India have been making headlines and the entire media seems to be bent on holding the Modi Government responsible for the ill-fate of our nation.

They consider it the foolhardiest decision amongst the various other superfluous courses of action undertaken by this government. At the very beginning, the government had a tough time dealing with the exigencies but gradually got some of the situation under their control.

The complacency of the government got the better off them, instead of securing enough vaccines for the citizens of their own country, they went about generously donating the surplus that could have helped keep the second wave of India in check. 

Global responsibility of India

A nation built on ethics and morals, India, has yet again proven its worth by standing up to the principles of humanity, fraternity and generosity.

Global relationships aren’t only limited to export, imports and removal of tariff barrier, it’s also about lending a hand to a country when every other alternative has been exhausted.

This is exactly what India did.

The distribution of vaccines has little to do with achieving favoritism amongst nations and more to do with the spirit of giving and sharing the benefits of recovery with the world.

The act was also cited as a diplomatic strategy of the Modi government so that in future, India could also seek favors from these countries in the fields of medicine, research, business or even trade.

But, what the critics fail to see is a Prime Minister delivering vaccines to be able to save millions of lives in underdeveloped countries, who don’t have the required infrastructure or resources.

What could have been an alternative course of action?

Distributing vaccines in itself was not the problem, but doing so without gauging the intensity of this deadly virus and its future impact, is where the main problem lies.

What the ministry of external affairs could do is first secure enough vaccines for all its citizens and then venture into sharing the surplus amongst the nations in need.

However, we must let the bygones be bygones and all our focus should now be on tackling the current situation at hand, taking adequate safety measures, keeping faith in the mass immunization programme and remaining perseverant in our fight against this lethal virus.


Written By - Tushna Choksey

 

 

 

 

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