Vaccines Work for All
COVID-19 is a human tragedy. But it has also created a generational opportunity, an opportunity to build back a more equal and sustainable world. The response to the pandemic, and to the widespread discontent that preceded it, must be based on a New Social Contract and a New Global Deal that create equal opportunities for all and respect the rights and freedoms of allAntonio Guterres
(while delivering Nelson Mandela Lecture)
The world has seen many health challenges: Zika, Ebola, H1N1(Swine flu), AIDS, Asian Flu, Spanish Flu, Polio. Some of them found solutions, found vaccines and got contained or almost eradicated (Polio). At the same time, some of them were restricted to some regions, and some yet to find solutions. COVID19 pandemic, perhaps the first in recent history, has affected people across the globe. The quest to find a vaccine and the determination with which the scientific communities worked the world over are lessons to be learnt. The scientific community and leadership of various nations demonstrated that humanity had developed the capability to tackle the problems. With the vaccine administration in India, Europe, and the US, it appears that it is the beginning of the pandemic’s end.
India observes National Vaccination Day, sometimes called National Immunization Day, on 16h March every year. It was first observed in 1995 when the first dose of Oral Polio Vaccine was given. Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases. Enhancing immunity due to vaccination is responsible for eradicating diseases like smallpox, measles, and tetanus from much of the world. WHO reports states that licensed vaccines are currently available for the prevention and control of twenty-five preventable infections. India has one of the largest Universal Immunization Programs globally in terms of the quantities of vaccines used, the number of beneficiaries covered, geographical spread and human resources involved.
The fact that the world can come out with a solution to the COVID pandemic in such a short period gives hope to the world. It is a work in progress; the scientific community needs to contemplate why the world is yet to find solutions to the problems being faced by poorer nations with diseases like TB.
Science found solutions and would find it now too. It is the combination of progress in science and society’s ability to respond with the passion which brings success. The confusion and doubts created by certain sections of people in India about getting vaccinated for COVID demonstrate that communicating and reaching out to the people is paramount. Let each one of us choose a method and contribute. Raising awareness, exchange of information and sharing the best practices and running advocacy programs on the importance of vaccine, is the way forward. Observations like National Vaccination Day is an opportunity to bring awareness.
Humans have always used our intelligence and creativity to improve our existence. After all, we invented the wheel, discovered how to make fire, invented the printing press, and found a vaccine for Polio.Naveen Jain