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Covid-19 vaccine distribution: Who should get the first shot | India News

NEW DELHI: There are around 8 billion people on Earth and getting every single one of them vaccinated is an insurmountable task. Once the vaccine candidates pass trials and are proven effective, the biggest challenge would be its distribution because the production will not be able to match the demand. Since all will not be able to get vaccinated at once, some people will have to be prioritised.
What are the points being considered while drawing up a Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan? Take a look:
* Across countries, from US to Russia, the consensus stands on vaccinating the people who are at high-risk like the health care professionals and frontline workers.
* However, there have also been suggestions that doctors and paramedical staff who are specifically engaged in treating Covid-19 patients should be prioritized over rest of the health care professionals at the hospitals.
* The more complicated question is if the pregnant women should be prioritised and placed on a better position in the list.
* Another suggestion is to vaccinate those populations or neighbourhoods which have reported a higher number of cases like the Blacks and Latinos in the United States.
* If experiences from H1N1 epidemic are to be considered from 2009, then a sort of ring vaccination strategy could be considered for major clusters in order to prevent the virus from spreading to other cities and states. Then prioritize the health workers in the hospitals followed by essential workers and the elderly.
* If we prioritize people with comorbidities, then the challenge—in a country like US where nearly half of Americans have at least one chronic illness—would be to create a hierarchy within this group of people. For instance, should immunocompromised patients in the midst of cancer treatment get access to the vaccine before tens of millions of people with Type 2 diabetes?
* Prioritizing the elderly depends on the specifics of the vaccine as they might not amount to a robust immune response to the vaccine.
* A vaccine distribution strategy is likely to vary from country to country depending on the spread and impact of the pandemic in that country. But globally, the debate is ripe over rich countries entering into pre-purchase agreements with vaccine manufacturers to secure first shots for their people.
* While countries will draw up their own distribution strategies, the world also needs a global distribution strategy to ensure vulnerable populations everywhere can get access to vaccine shots.
* Whether countries which have been severely affected or lack resources should be given special consideration by rich nations who have already secured contracts with pharmaceutical firms. Should a country like Brazil which is struggling to manage the pandemic be considered over a country like New Zealand which has successfully flattened the infection curve—are some points for consideration.


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