There was an enthusiastic response in Doon as vaccination for the 60-plus section of the population took off, indicating a laudable absence of hesitancy. This is good news for the state, but it has been seen that delivery has not been up to the mark with people having to wait for as much as four hours at venues such as the Doon Hospital. This follows on reported glitches in the Co-Win portal. The Union Government has advised the states to utilise all resources for the task, including the private hospitals empanelled under various schemes. In Uttarakhand, this had not taken off in such hospitals mentioned in the portal by Wednesday.
It would seem that these institutions are not too eager to take on the task. One reason could be the ‘low’ rates that can be charged for the vaccine, another could be supply problems. This has led to even the well-off sections eager to get vaccinated rushing to the government centres. This needs to be avoided, as those with limited means would face unnecessary difficulties. The private hospitals should realise that while they may not make any money out of the drive, it would be an opportunity to show off their facilities and services to future customers.
There is no point in the government telling people that such and such hospitals are ‘proposed’ to be included in the campaign. A large number of persons have delayed their vaccination on learning the neighbourhood hospitals supposedly providing this service are actually not doing so.
There is absolutely no scope for complacency as, after a decline in Covid-19 cases nationwide, there has been a surge in several states. Getting vaccinated is the next big step in the battle against the pandemic. While India has an abundance of vaccines, it needs a far better delivery system if anything like the required number is to be achieved in the necessary time. Thus far, the pandemic has been reasonably contained because enough people have made the precautions a part of their daily routines. However, with the increased opening up and larger gatherings such as at the Kumbh Mela or during Holi, as also the arrival of new mutations of the virus, a renewed surge can be expected. Taking a couple of years to inoculate a large enough percentage of the population will not serve the purpose and, in the end, may prove a great waste of time and money.