Celebrating India’s 26th National Vaccination Day
This National Vaccination day, which is also referred to as national immunisation day, today has ravaged the whole world by COVID-19. The Government of India recognises March 16 as the National Vaccination Day, every year.
This National Vaccination day, which is also referred to as national immunisation day, today has ravaged the whole world by COVID-19. The Government of India recognises March 16 as the National Vaccination Day, every year. It was on March 16, 1995, when India first celebrated this day officially as the Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme.
However, the theme for this year’s National Vaccination Day is both Polio eradication as well as the current COVID-19 threat. Vaccination schedules to eradicate the SARS-CoV-2 virus are being run across the nation. Moreover, with all hopes hinged on the deliverance with a jab, there is a reason for India, and especially its half dozen vaccine companies, to bring aid. After all, their response with COVID-19 vaccines is getting them global goodwill like never before. In correspondence to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi left no stone unturned to send out a major reminder. Launching the COVID-19 vaccination drive in India on 16 January, he underlined how “all over the world 60 per cent children get made-in-India life-saving vaccines.” Indeed, the prickly questions continue to confront India on both the COVID-19 vaccination and on the child immunisation programme.
On the COVID-19 vaccination, the question uppermost is how is India going to speed up the pace of vaccinations because, at the current pace, it is likely to take too long before all can be vaccinated? How does India intend to deal with the apparent vaccine hesitancy? How well equipped are the hospitals and the staff and their preparedness to handle the demands of a huge nationwide rollout for the general population? Also, how to robust the CoWIN vaccination registration app and the other digital scaffolding to the vaccination drive for the general population vaccine rollout?
On the non-COVID vaccines – that is the routine immunisation programme of the country, the key question is how the lost ground during the last year’s lockdown months and the physical contact hesitancy that followed apart from the diversion of healthcare staff to COVID care, which in all impacted the child immunisation programme, is now to be covered. As some of the experts who have looked at the data point out to the tough task ahead though the government has responded and in February launched the “intensified mission Indradhanush 3.0” with a clear focus on children and pregnant women who have missed their vaccine doses during the COVID-19 pandemic though the exact number on the cases missed out is still not clear.