New Delhi: Even as the country is moving towards phase 3 of the vaccination drive against COVID-19 in which people in the age group of 18-45 years would be inoculated, several states have conveyed their inability to start the rollout due to a shortage of doses.
Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on Friday (April 30) discussed the growing list of people demanding vaccines and why they will have to wait a bit longer.
About two and a half crore people aged between 18 and 45 years have registered for vaccine since April 28. These numbers are increasing by the hour. But none of these people have got a date to get the vaccine. And that's why we are calling it the waiting list of the vaccine.
The reason for this is that the states do not have sufficient stock to start the drive.
According to the government of Maharashtra, Serum Institute of India, which makes Covishield, has asked them to wait till May 15 for the doses. The state has ordered 7 crore doses of the vaccine.
In Delhi too, the vaccination drive will not start from May 1. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that if Delhi gets the vaccine by May 3, the vaccination will start.
Other states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have also said that they will not be able to start vaccination from tomorrow due to shortage of stock.
At present, the total vaccine doses produced by the two manufacturers SII and Bharat Biotech is 7 to 8.5 crore per month.
But is that enough? According to an estimate, if 80 percent of the country's population is to be vaccinated by the end of this year, then 17 crore doses will be required every month, whereas in the present situation, the total production of both vaccines is not even half of it. This is the reason why we are witnessing a vaccine crisis in the country.
It is very important to increase the production of vaccines and for this, the vaccine needs to be patent-free.
A patent is a type of legal right that gives an organization or person a monopoly on a product, design, discovery, or a particular service. But we believe that this benefit rule should not apply to the vaccine.
A few days ago the Government of India asked the WHO to make COVID vaccines patent-free. The matter is still under consideration.
Apart from this, a petition has also been filed in the Supreme Court seeking an increase in the production of vaccines. It has demanded that the Government of India issue Compulsory License to the third-party companies so that they can also make the vaccine.
Section 92 of The Patents Act, 1970, states that the Government of India can give license to third-party companies to make any goods, equipment, or medicines in the public interest at the time of any natural calamity or epidemic. This means the government can make vaccines patent-free.
There are over three thousand pharmaceutical companies in India, which have about ten and a half thousand factories in the country. But the COVID vaccines are being made in just two as the others do not have a license for it.
The government must work in this regard and thus help to grow the production of vaccines to meet the demand.