Ramp up COVID Vaccine Strategy in collaboration with Private Sector: Experts

As all people above the age of 45 years will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccination, experts have recommended speeding up the drive by scaling up capacity with collaboration with private providers to contain the rapidly increasing second wave.

India is facing an increasingly severe and intensive situation in some districts, but the entire country is potentially at risk.

 “All efforts to contain the virus and save lives should be taken, Dr. VK Paul, Member NITI Aayog (Health) told reporters recently. Dr. Paul heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 and is a core member of the Centre’s Covid-19 response team.

 

“The private sector needs to come forward and participate in the vaccination drive. We were told there are 20,000 private vaccination centres in the country. But less than 6,000 vaccination centres are being run by the private sector in India. We request the private sector to make the remaining vaccination centres functional and increase their number," Dr. VK Paul said.

“In the wake of the surging new cases, the Centre may be forced to recalibrate its vaccine diplomacy. There should be lesser exports, till the time the Indian situation stabilizes. The government shall not take such a big chance at the moment as our country needs to be vaccinated at utmost priority. The private sector has created world-class systems and integrating continuous learnings on this. Hence we have urged the government to ramp up the vaccination strategy by leveraging the private sector’s full strength and also urge people of India to practice basic hygiene,” said Dr. Girdhar Gyani, Secretary General, Association of Healthcare Providers- India ( AHPI).  

In India, we had our peak in September, and the number of cases per day decreased from over one lac in September to less than 9000 in early February. There was nothing particular that India did for the numbers to fall to one-tenth of the peak. The numbers have started increasing exponentially again in March.

Rajneesh Bhandari, Founder NeuroEquilibrium, said, “In India, our air-conditioning and cooling start during the summers and people stay and work in closed spaces. Thus as the temperature increases, we are seeing the number of Covid cases increasing. Covid has not spread much in rural areas because the people are not living or working in closed spaces. However, the drive needs scale with the help of private providers.”

 “The spread of Coronavirus is a very complex phenomenon, and science is still grappling with the multiplicity of parameters. Some parameters that may influence the spread include social distancing, proper use of masks, virus variants, temperature, humidity, vaccination, etc. Various studies have found an inverse correlation between temperature and the daily number of cases. One USA study estimates that every 1-degree increase in minimum temperature leads to a decrease in the cumulative number of cases by 0.86,” added Bhandari. 

The second wave of Covid in Europe and the USA was much more severe than the first wave and peaked during winters when people stayed closed doors. The USA had its peak of over 3 lac cases a day in January to less than 60000 a day now. Most of Europe had its peak in December and January, and the numbers are reducing now.