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  Table of Contents 
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 225-226
 

Tackling the roadblocks to COVID-19 vaccination in India - The need of the hour


Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, India

Date of Submission11-Jul-2021
Date of Decision28-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance28-Jul-2021
Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pranav Ish
Room No. 638, Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi - 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.ijoem_212_21

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How to cite this article:
Ish P, Agrawal S, Sinha K. Tackling the roadblocks to COVID-19 vaccination in India - The need of the hour. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2021;25:225-6

How to cite this URL:
Ish P, Agrawal S, Sinha K. Tackling the roadblocks to COVID-19 vaccination in India - The need of the hour. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 8];25:225-6. Available from: https://www.ijoem.com/text.asp?2021/25/4/225/334691




To The Editor,

We read the article by Rajgopal et al.[1] and completely agree with the authors that COVID-19 vaccination is the best weapon to prevent or mitigate the third wave in India. The authors have discussed in detail the various COVID-19 vaccines available and those in the trial phase. However, the path to an enhanced vaccination in our country requires us to tackle certain major roadblocks. These roadblocks need to be understood at the grass-root level and tackled in a holistic manner.

1. Deficit in Vaccine production and supply

In accordance to the current eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccination, India has about one billion adults. Thus, to get a 60% coverage for the currently eligible population by the end of December 2021, it is required to vaccinate about nine million people per day.[2]

With only three vaccines available as of now in the Indian market and their combined production expected to be around 130,000,000 per month by the end of July,[3] it is still half of what is needed. And with each passing day of low vaccination numbers, the deficit keeps going up.

India achieved over 90% coverage of Tuberculosis vaccines given at birth (National sample survey 2017–18).[4] The robust infrastructure of the vaccine supply chain created at the government as well as private level aided in the easy access to these vaccines. This system has not been utilized for COVID-19 vaccination due to the centralized and controlled nature of the vaccine program. As mentioned by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, utilizing the network of practising paediatricians who are vaccinating children on a daily basis while managing the complications along with monitoring the supply chains, can help speed up COVID-19 vaccination drive in India.[5]

2. Vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers

Vaccine hesitancy has been discussed in the article by Rajgopal et al.,[1] which says that the hesitancy is across various levels in the society including health care workers (HCW) and being passively transmitted to the patients. Lack of research on long-term implications and even the delayed release of the trial data from the expedited phases of vaccine trials have brought about a negative impact on the hesitant group. There is an urgent need for the HCW involved in vaccination to share the safety and real-time efficacy data for greater acceptance.[6]

3. Reinfection and post vaccine breakthrough infections

There have been documented cases of COVID-19 reinfection[7] and even cases of breakthrough COVID-19 infection after vaccination. This creates a challenge to convince the public at large for COVID-19 vaccination. The solution for this roadblock is to reinforce among the HCW and the community that vaccines decrease severity and mortality of infection, besides reducing the chances of infection. For this, real-time data of post vaccine breakthrough COVID-19 infections along with their severity assessment must be carried out. Besides, viral mutations[8] create new variants, which need to be kept in strict surveillance along with monitoring vaccine response to them.

To conclude, in the unpredictable nature and course of COVID-19 illness and outcome, vaccination is indeed the best way forward to prevent or mitigate future waves in India. However, a real-time check on roadblocks is necessary to ensure the success of this world's largest COVID-19 vaccination drive in India.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Rajgopal T, Joseph B. Vaccination as a strategy to prevent or mitigate a potential COVID-19 third wave in India. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2021;25:55-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
All Adults Can Be Vaccinated by December-End. Available from: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/vaccine-supplies-up-can-meet-december-target-if-government-expert-dr-nk-arora-2482525. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 15].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
India and the Curious Absence of Clear Policy When It Comes to Local Vaccine Production. Available from: https://thewire.in/government/covid-19-vaccine-local-production-covishield-covaxin-sputnik. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 15].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Immunisation programme of 8 required vaccines is not completed. Available from: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/40-of-children-are-not-fully-vaccinated-says-nso-report/article32554855.ece. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 15].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
In India's COVID-19 Fight, Letting Paediatrician Vaccinate Adults Can Be a Game Changer. Available from: https://www.news18.com/news/opinion/in-indias-covid-19-fight-letting-pediatrician-vaccinate-adults-can-be-a-game-changer-3583148.html. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 11].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Srivastava RK, Ish P, Safdarjung Covid-Vaccination Group. The initial experience of COVID-19 vaccination from a tertiary care centre of India. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis 2021. doi: 10.4081/monaldi.2021.1816.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Sen MK, Gupta N, Yadav SR, Kumar R, Singh B, Ish P. Contentious issue in recurrent COVID-19 infection: Reactivation or reinfection. Turk Thorac J 2020;21:463-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Kunal S, Aditi, Gupta K, Ish P. COVID-19 variants in India: Potential role in second wave and impact on vaccination. Heart Lung 2021;50:784-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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