The race to find a vaccine to combat COVID-19 is coming to an end as several pharmaceutical giants have declared themselves as winners.
Companies like Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India have announced success in finding a vaccine against the coronavirus. This news has lifted the spirits of the financial markets as well as the general public.
While the vaccine is available for use in countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom, India will have to wait a little longer to access the vaccine shots.
However, though the much-awaited news is out and humanity has virtually gained an upper hand over the virus, there is still a grey area that needs to be considered.
The medical shield against the virus is in sight but are people willing to take the dose of vaccine? We will discuss this question below.
Willingness To Take Vaccine
You must be wondering if this is even a question to ask. However, as much hopeful we had been to find a vaccine, several Indians are now skeptical to expose themselves to it.
The government is gearing up to make the vaccines available as soon as possible but a recent survey by GOQii states that about 53% of the Indian population has expressed concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The survey, conducted on a sample size of 11,000 respondents, revealed that 43% are confused about the effectiveness of the vaccine, 47% are eagerly waiting for it and 10% people are firmly against taking the dose.
Another survey by LocalCircles, with a sample size of 18,000 respondents, has claimed to deduce that about 70% of Indians are hesitant to take the vaccine. According to their report, part of the hesitancy is influenced by the steep decline in COVID-19 cases in the past few days.
With so many people unwilling to get the vaccination done, would the COVID-19 vaccine be a success? I doubt it.
Class Divide In Distribution
While the discussions over the cost of the vaccine are still going on, there isn’t any surety regarding the free availability of the vaccine. This can give rise to a class-divide in the distribution of the vaccine.
If the vaccine will be available after payment, then the rich and influential would be able to get themselves doses way before the poor and underprivileged. Since the government is planning to carry out vaccination in stages, the paid characteristic of the vaccine may lead to rampant corruption in allocation.
If the vaccine is made available by the government free of cost, even then the class-divide isn’t left out as preferential treatment may be given to the rich over the poor. Also, the angle of corruption can’t be negated.
Throughout the world, there are doubts regarding the speedy allocation of vaccine doses to the members of lower strata of society. The present speed of manufacturing and supply of shots of the vaccine may not be able to cater to India’s huge population.
It would take about 2 years to vaccinate India’s entire population. It’s a herculean task and since political usage of the vaccine may happen, the poor folks may find it difficult to fetch a drop of modern nectar for themselves.
Political Usage Of Vaccine
In the Bihar state assembly elections, though no report regarding success on vaccine making was publicly available, it became a tool of appeasement. Voters were promised free doses of vaccine, which may have been a reason for the thumping majority earned by the BJP in the state.
When we discuss class-divide, we must not forget how the vaccine can be used to lure voters. Since the central government would have a greater degree of control over the vaccine’s distribution, they would use it to their political benefit. There may be state, caste and religion-based discrimination, which has also been alleged by the Maharashtra branch of Indian Medical Association.
While the vaccine is a sliver of hope for all of us who are desperately waiting for the virus to leave the human race, the willingness of people and the equitable distribution of its doses remains a big question that needs to be considered.
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