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Supply side and delivery side of COVID Vaccine

Supply side and delivery side of COVID Vaccine

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GS-2-   Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
Education, Human Resources.

Supply side and delivery side of COVID Vaccine

Supply side of the vaccine

Globally, innumerable vaccine trials are progressing; in India, two candidates have advanced considerably.

Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech:

  • An inactivated coronavirus vaccine was created by Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech.
  • It is safe and immunogenic (stimulates anti-coronavirus antibody) in laboratory animals and humans, to be re-confirmed in a phase 2 trial; phase 3 will assess the vaccine’s safety and protective efficacy against COVID-19.

 Pune’s Serum Institute of India:

  • Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII) is testing Oxford University-AstraZeneca’s vaccine using a Trojan horse approach — spiking chimpanzee adenovirus type 5 with coronavirus spike glycoprotein genes.
  • When injected, adenoviruses are detected and devoured by immune system cells patrolling for invading microbes.
  • The smuggled genes force these cells to synthesise and spew out spike protein that is immunogenic.
  • This adenovirus is harmless in humans.
  • The SII is ready to upscale production after regulatory clearances in the United Kingdom and India.
  • Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, created COVAX — a funding facility to ensure up-scaling vaccine production and its access to low income countries as soon as regulatory approvals emerge.
  • COVAX will support the SII with funds to bring down selling-price to $3 per dose.
  • Both company-owners have invested heavily, without extramural research support, or advance purchase contract by the government.
·         Some wealthy nations made bilateral financial agreements with manufacturers in order to hog vaccines. ·         Such vaccine nationalism is ‘measles of the world’. ·         Global public good should not be hijacked by wealthy nations – Albert Einstein.

Delivery side of the vaccine

Planning:

  • The first step is policy definition leading to a plan of action blueprint.
  • The time to create them is now.
  • Policy emerges from objective(s) for vaccine use in individuals and community.
  • Priority for individual need is to protect those at high risk of death (senior citizens and those with medical co-morbidities) and front-line workers who expose themselves to infection while providing health care.
  • Children may be vaccinated before schools reopen to protect them and prevent infection from being carried home.
  • Past COVID-19 or infection cannot be readily identified unless we track archival information of all laboratory tests and medical records.
  • Information should be made available to the individual and the health management system, for which computerised data are critical.
  • A nationwide database with unique identification details already exists, a valuable resource to identify those who need not be vaccinated.
  • Identifying past asymptomatic infections requires systematic screening for IgG antibody.
  • Antibody positives need not be vaccinated (no harm if vaccinated). All data should be saved permanently.
  • Area-wise estimates of the numbers who need vaccination on a priority basis are necessary.

Need for vaccination:

  • A community’s need for vaccination is two-fold. All those who must rebuild essential activities, i.e. economic, educational, trade, transport, sociocultural and religious, must be protected.
  • A more ambitious aim is to break the novel coronavirus transmission and eradicate the disease altogether.
  • India has notable representation in decision-making bodies of the World Health Organization.
  • Hence, India is uniquely positioned to play a crucial role in advocating global eradication of COVID-19.

Near perfect plan for vaccination:

  • A vaccine-delivery platform is needed to fulfil all such needs.
  • A practical method is vaccination camps, supervised by a medical officer, staffed by health management and local government, and having the list of people who need vaccination.
  • Information should be updated regularly, deleting those who got infected recently.
  • Enumeration and registration of eligible persons can be started.
  • Vaccination by appointments will ensure that vaccination is without overcrowding and with minimum waiting time.
  • Post-injection, vaccinated subjects should wait for half-an-hour in case of immediate side effects; emergency drugs to tackle side effects should be readily available.

Careful on Vaccine side effects:

  • Vaccine trials document the absence of serious side effects.
  • Minor and inconsequential reactions are self-limiting fever, pain and swelling at the injection site.
  • As it would be a new vaccine, all side effects must be documented for first and second doses; medical events during the month following each dose must be captured through phone calls, and analysed to check full safety of the vaccine.
  • Phase 3 trial is usually in healthy volunteers, hence efficacy and safety profile in others will not be available when a vaccine is rolled out.
  • However, senior citizens and those with co-morbidities must be vaccinated by/on priority.
  • Some countries require that a proportion of volunteers should be the elderly and the vulnerable.
  • In India, careful documentation of all side effects in all individuals, senior citizens, those with co-morbidities and children must supplement trial data on vaccine safety. This ‘post-marketing surveillance’ must be built into the vaccine roll-out.
  • The vaccine regulatory agency should take a call on the special question of vaccine safety during pregnancy.
  • One vaccine is an inactivated virus and the second is a live virus but non-infectious.
  • Both may be assumed to be safe; yet safety in pregnancy must be ascertained in bridge studies that must be conducted as soon as possible.

Source:”The Hindu”.


POSSIBLE UPSC CSE MAINS QUESTION:

While supply side of the COVID vaccine seems to be steady there is a need to focus on delivery side of the vaccine with adequate measures in place. Elaborate.