The War of Vaccine, Trust & Transparency
The world is excited about the COVID-19 vaccine. Some countries have already started administrating vaccines to its citizens while others are preparing of it. India is one of them which is gearing up to administer vaccines to its citizens. But the story is little twisted in India. As soon as the government gave nod to two indigenous vaccine jabs, it instigated a war among the elites. It indeed is fun that when the whole world is looking at India to provide them with vaccine doses, the country is dealing with trust deficit.
A day after the Indian drug regulator approved the COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, serious questions regarding the transparency and credibility of the approval process have been on rise. Hence it becomes critical for the government to address these concerns on transparency. It is also important for the government to not let the public rely on the flying random statements from different bodies or individuals. The majority of the concerns raised were about the rushed approval for indigenous vaccines.
This seems to be the effect of several rising cases of vaccine volunteers and people contracting COVID-19 after taking vaccine shots. The health watchdog All India Drug Action Network said that there were intense concerns arising from the absence of the efficacy data as well a lack of transparency that would raise more questions than answers and likely will not reinforce faith in our scientific decision making bodies. However, VG Somani, India’s Drug Controller Genearl, said that Covaxin was safe and provides a robust immune response. He further quoted that the vaccines had been approved for restricted use in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, to have more options for vaccines, especially in case of infection by mutant strains.
But the two research firms, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India, have come together to clear the air. In a joint statement, the two firms pledged smooth vaccine rollout. The statement read that “Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech jointly communicate their pledge towards a smooth rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to India and the world”.
“They (Adar Poonawala and Dr Krishna Ella) said, the more important task in front of them is saving the lives and livelihoods of populations in India and the world. Vaccines are a global public health good and they have the power to save lives and accelerate the return to economic normalcy at the earliest,” the joint statement read.
On the other hand, even the government is strengthening its supply chain to ensure vaccine reaches last mile and every needy get the most high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines. The government has been run dry test to ensure there is no error left on the way to ensure its citizens get the vaccine shots. However, these are just small steps. There is much to be done and one of them is to also create trust and transparency among its population so that they take their first step towards vaccination with utmost believe in it.