Since India’s mass Covid-19 vaccination programme began on January 16, too many states have been unable to vaccinate even 50% of their target workers. Judged against the goal of vaccinating 300 million people with two doses by July, only around 10 million vaccinated as on February 20 is very worrying. Meanwhile Covid cases have started spiking again, as are anxieties about new strains. This dangerously tepid pace of vaccination is specially inexplicable in a country where availability of vaccines is not an issue, thanks to its intrepid private sector.
This weekend Wipro founder chairman and the country’s foremost philanthropist Azim Premji joined other industry leaders and industry bodies like CII, to pitch for the government to engage the private sector, whose proactive participation can really give sorely needed pace to India’s vaccination drive. With such a joint effort, he says achieving coverage of 500 million people within 60 days is a real possibility. His is a sound public health argument. Policymakers should heed it, and in a timely way.
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