Friday, 7 May, 2021

At Last, COVID Vaccines!

Even as the entire world is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world since almost a year ago, a piece of news on a successful trial of coronavirus vaccine has buoyed the governments around the world.  Apart from claiming tens of thousands of lives and afflicting several millions across the globe, the dreaded disease prompted the world economy to its knees, pulverised business, industry, tourism, transport, education, employment and the government works. Authorities imposed prolonged lockdowns to break the virus chain. Since there are no certain therapeutic means to deal with the virus, the people worked their ways to live with the pandemic. Later, governments were compelled to open up economies and grant people to engage in their day-to-day activities by enforcing safety obligations.

As the coronavirus infection kept on surging, killing and afflicting more people each day, the world awaited an efficacious and safe vaccine against the contagion. Now, the world has witnessed a ray of hope after major pharmaceutical companies claimed they have reached success in making vaccines that are over 90 per cent efficacious in dealing with the contagion. Popular international companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have come up with their vaccines following the successful third-phase tests. These two companies are now ready to apply for permission to launch their vaccines for immunisation of the people. Various reports suggest that over a dozen of vaccine candidates are about to complete their third-phase trial as well. China's SinoVac and Russia's Sputnik V are two other major vaccine candidates likely to come into use early next year. 

These vaccines having high potency will go miles in bringing normalcy in the life of the entire global population and help the world economy bounce back to its previous time. The world has waited with bated breath to see such vaccines. Many Western governments and affluent countries pumped millions of dollars for the research and production of a potent vaccine. Now, they have tasted success, and the world has heaved a huge sigh of relief. However, the immunisation of the entire global population is a demanding task. Once the vaccine is fit to use towards the end of this year or early next year, a scramble is likely to take place among the nations and governments to receive the vaccines for their people. Procuring sufficient doses requires lots of waiting and money, and the poor nations may have to wait even longer to get the shots. 

Nepal too may have to wait long for accessing sufficient vaccines for its entire population. It can, however, rest its hope on the WHO-sponsored COVAX programme, which permits a poor nation like Nepal to have its quick access to the vaccines through the world body's channels. Even after receiving vaccines, our government may face challenges in inoculating the entire population, as the vaccination campaign would be on an unprecedented scale. Immunisation of the entire community is a time and resource-consuming affair. The country needs to expand its capabilities regarding many aspects of the immunisation process, increase vaccine storage facilities, and develop transportation ability. Our government must, therefore, prepare itself in advance so that vaccinating its population will be free of any hiccup, hazard and untoward event.