IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 28th Dec
“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” —Jim Rohn
EDITORIAL HUNT #286 :“COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement and Distribution | UPSC ”
COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement and Distribution | UPSC
Bhaskar Dutta is Professor of Economics, Ashoka University
Involving private hospitals
The government must examine the principle underlying the triage scheme and whether private players should be allowed space
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Diseases
It is all likely that private suppliers will request government permission to import and distribute the vaccine in India? Examine the consequences and benefits of such procurement. -(GS 3)
- Mass Vaccination
- Who gets the priority ?
- Involving Private Hospitals
- Way forward
- MASS VACCINATION : India plans to vaccinate 300 million people against COVID-19 over the next 6-7 months.
- PRIORITY LIST : The state plans to give priority to healthcare workers and other front-line workers, followed by everyone who is above 50 years of age.
- ACQUIRING DOSES : Since all the vaccines that are currently in the spotlight require two doses, the government will have to acquire 600 million doses.
- LARGEST PRODUCERS : Fortunately, Pune’s Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest producer of vaccines.
- RECENT NEGOTIATIONS : There are reports that the government has already struck a deal with the Serum Institute to acquire 500 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
- Emergency authorisation for this vaccine is likely to follow soon.
- FRONT RUNNERS : There are other vaccine front runners including Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and the Russian Sputnik V whose clinical trials in India are being conducted by Reddy’s Labs.
- ROLE OF PRIVATE PLAYERS : A different and somewhat contentious issue is whether the government will allow private players any space in the vaccination process.
WHO GETS PRIORITY?
- COVID-19 VACCINATION DRIVE : New Delhi’s strategy of giving priority to front-line workers and elderly people is in line with the practice being followed in the U.K. and the U.S.
- OBJECTIVES : Mass vaccination will provide protection to those vaccinated, and minimise or at least slow down the speed and spread of the viral transmission.
- PRIORITY TO HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS : These are the individuals who have high levels of exposure and they also act as active disease vectors since they interact with large numbers of people.
- SOCIO ECONOMIC COST BURDEN : The priority given to older people may not actually minimise the total social and economic cost inflicted by the virus in the long run.
- ELDERLY PEOPLE : The elderly are less mobile, have a lower level of social interaction, and are hence less likely to spread the virus.
- YOUNG MOBILISE MORE : Obviously, a younger person who interacts with a larger number of people is both more likely to be infected and subsequently infect others.
INVOLVING PRIVATE HOSPITALS
- PROCUREMENT STRATEGY : The state’s procurement strategy seems to depend entirely on domestic sources.
- RESOURCE ALLOCATION : It also plans to rely entirely on public resources for distribution without involving private hospitals.
- EQUAL ACCESS TO ALL : The latter is particularly important and appropriate since crucial health facilities should be accessible to all.
- PRIVATE PLAYERS : Allowing the private sector to provide additional supplies of the vaccine would not really be a bad policy decision after all — even when the interests of the poor are taken into account.
- AVAILABILITY : The most important consideration that has to be kept in mind is that this would not decrease the availability of the vaccine to the poor.
- DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL : The state will and should continue to procure all available domestically produced vaccines and supply them through its own distribution channel.
- ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES : In other words, it should follow its own distribution policies as if the additional sources of supply do not exist.
- OTHER VACCINES : Several other vaccines are already conducting Phase 3 trials and there is a strong possibility that there will be a significant boost in the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
- PRICE BATTLES : It turns out that these prices are substantially lower than the prices that Moderna and Pfizer, for example, have been quoting to other countries.
- EXPECTED PRICE : Moderna will be charging $18 per dose while Pfizer’s price at €12 is even lower.
- BARGAINING POWER : Of course, the EU could get a very good deal simply because the large size of its market gives it a lot of bargaining power.
- COST VS LARGE MARKETS : India too provides a large market even if the cost of vaccination is around ₹5,000.
- CENTRALISED PURCHASING : Of course, some centralised purchasing will be essential in order to exploit the bargaining power associated with the size of the market.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement and Distribution | UPSC