24th Nov 2020 11:11:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

It’s time to pull up socks to overcome the Covid-19 vaccination delivery challenge- this was the principal takeaway from Tuesday’s PM-CMs virtual interaction on Covid. Besides giving a call to the Chief Ministers to work together in the mission, the Prime Minister has emphasized on a couple of vital points. These relate to the target of taking the drive to the lowest level of the population and the immediate need to establish cold storage facilities. The countdown to the intensely-cherished longing of having the vaccine has already started and with this meeting at the highest level, it has now got a new dimension.

From the information gathered on so far, it’s apparent not just one, but quite a good number of vaccines from multiple manufacturers are going to arrive sooner than later. And based on the breaking developments it can be said that there are strong chances that the Astrazeneca-Oxford version which will be manufactured in India is going to be the preferred choice for the country despite its 70% overall efficacy compared to the ones developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna where it’s nearly 95%. Among a host of reasons behind this choice, the one which needs a little elaboration is the storage and distribution ease of the vaccine, a fundamental aspect on which the success of the upcoming mammoth exercise rests to a great extent. The Oxford-AZ version can be stored under normal fridge temperatures unlike the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines that strictly require storage and transportation arrangements at minus 20-80 degrees celsius, which is extremely limited in the country. This implies that the normal supply chain for vaccines currently existing under universal immunisation programmes across the country can be used without difficulty for supplying this version of the vaccine with coverage of rural areas where cold chain logistics are perennially weak.

The State Heath Secretary has assured that Arunachal Pradesh is fully prepared with cold storages and ready to start the Covid vaccination drive as soon as the green signal comes from the Central Health Ministry. To translate the words into action, it will require a huge effort and it goes without reiterating that a separate team, of the kind of a task force needs to be constituted which must work round the clock on a full-time basis. If  cold storage facilities are somehow managed, a big stumbling block for the state will still be the roads. The recent floods have already disrupted surface communication in various pockets and for the sake of the vaccine’s outreach, there is an urgent necessity for their revival. Special plans should also be drawn for areas where roads are still a dream and airlifting the only option.

It’s high time for the state to review its current vaccine delivery capabilities and draw plans accordingly to mitigate the shortcomings. 

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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