World’s Largest Adult Vaccination Program Prepared India For Big Leap Forward In Atma-Nirbharta
Seventy-five years after being freed from foreign rule, our quest for another kind of freedom continues – this time the country seeks to free itself from an invisible invader – SARS-CoV-2, which ravaged the country for 20 years. month. From what we know about this deadly virus, it can be tamed by following the Test-Track-Treat and Vaccination strategy at the administrative level and by encouraging adherence to Covid-Appropriate behavior through community participation. .
But to eliminate it, we needed lasting immunity to it. Indian scientists and agencies have pushed the physical and technical limits to develop COVID-19 vaccines in a record time and on January 16, 2021, our Hon’ble Prime Minister launched the world’s largest adult vaccination program by introducing two “made in India” COVID-. 19 vaccines. The introduction of vaccines made in India just weeks after the global introduction of COVID-19 vaccines also marked the start of an exciting period in India’s public health history.
This is perhaps one of the very few benefits of the COVID crisis – we have had the rare opportunity to build a mission mode healthcare infrastructure that will do more than just make us stronger for future onslaughts of the world. type we are currently facing.
Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has been investing a large part of its resources in strengthening the health system since March 2020, when the first cases of COVID were detected. At the same time, an entrepreneurial ecosystem for research and development of vaccines, the development of new diagnostic techniques as well as treatment modalities have been set up. COVID Mission Suraksha has made special and proactive efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to established vaccine manufacturers to increase manufacturing capacity and start-up biotechnology units to explore new vaccine platforms and product development.
Thus, in less than a year, vaccines were developed, tested, approved and a nationwide vaccination program was rolled out. In a few months, the country became self-sufficient in the production of masks, PPE kits, testing devices, etc. that were essential to our fight against COVID-19. These COVID-sensitive interventions have created an enabling environment for the fight against the COVID-19 virus.
To further accelerate immunization coverage, the Honorable Prime Minister’s decision to make the vaccine free to all eligible beneficiaries in public health facilities across India demonstrated strong political commitment at the highest level to public health. .
It is remarkable that in just a few months India has administered more than 750 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, among the highest in the world. Currently, more than 1.1 million beneficiaries receive COVID vaccines in a single day. I firmly believe that it is the wholehearted participation of the population in the immunization program that has made it such a success.
The Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which aims to vaccinate the entire population of the country by the end of this year, also provides valuable lessons to further refine our universal vaccination program and other initiatives to health. Our ever-expanding Covid-19 vaccination program can become an effective entry point to provide our citizens with services related to primary health care, nutrition, water and sanitation. The rapid expansion of our health facilities across the country will help us ensure equitable access to quality health care for all.
Our healthcare and frontline workers have worked with great commitment and dedication to achieve this momentous achievement of administering 75 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine —- a fitting tribute to our 75 years of “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav “.
The world’s largest adult immunization program also strengthens India’s resolve towards Atmanirbharta. The Atmanirbharta must be inclusive and embrace complementary collaborations for essential technologies and take advantage of the essential interdependence between sectors and countries. The research, development and manufacture of vaccines is similar to rocket science and the nuclear program. There are many scientific, manufacturing, technological and quality assurance processes involved. It is therefore necessary to create an ecosystem that encourages business and national production of vaccines, including the required raw materials, using advanced technologies. To make this happen, sustained strategic investments have been made in research and development, enabling collaborations and political support to achieve and sustain the goal.
The revolutionary vaccination program (both development and implementation aspects) and disease surveillance measures for COVID-19 will have a long-term impact on India’s vaccination program.
The pandemic has forced us to experience the fragility of life and to pay urgent attention to health care. It has also taught us that we no longer have the luxury of waiting, experimenting and taking small steps to build our health ecosystem. Now is the time for a big leap forward – and the country is ready to do it.
(Mansukh Mandaviya is Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of India)