Syllabus- General Studies 2(Governance)
Issues relating to quality of life: livelihood, poverty, hunger, disease and social inclusiveness.
As we look ahead to what is promised to be a transition from a lack of vaccine supply to one of greater availability, the plan must be to prioritise people based on the risk of severe disease, and need — essential principles if we plan with justice in mind.
Issues/ target group
|Urban slums and neighbourhoods– where socially disadvantaged caste and community groups, and migrants from Adivasi communities often reside, have poor access to and low levels of trust in the health-care system.|
|· Vaccines should be provided in camps or door-to-door in slums and other such areas. Appropriately, local governments are considering providing vaccines to older adults in door-to-door campaigns.|
· A similar approach — vaccination camps where people live and work — could also greatly enhance vaccine uptake among essential workers and the poor.
· We need to ensure that those who work for daily wages are able to get the vaccine without having to forego work or pay.
|Adivasi communities also reside in remote and forested areas that are also being ravaged by waves of death, presumably due to COVID-19|
|Vaccine distribution should be prioritised to districts where they live.|
In India today, perhaps the most marginalised are religious minorities, and, specifically, poor Muslim communities.
|Vaccine distribution should also be prioritised to Muslim-dominated tier-3 towns across the country.|
|· We need women-only vaccine days to ensure that women know that they are being prioritised.|
· In the current pandemic, it is very possible that if women are not explicitly prioritised, economic pressures to protect the (often male) breadwinner in families, and the historically marginalised stature of women in society, will end up resulting in gender inequities in vaccine uptake — early signs of exactly this have been recently reported.
Equity-Focused Vaccination Plan-
Better leadership to standardize and enforce meta-data collection and timely reporting is essential to inform data-driven interventions and prioritised resource mobilization.
This leaves only poor countries to be dependent on supplies through COVAX, and they find themselves at the end of the line. This is a wake-up call for setting up vaccine distribution systems with equity in mind for the next pandemic.
An explicit focus on justice would prioritise the engagement of trusted spokespeople to engage in effective risk communication with vulnerable and marginalised communities, and to build trust in the vaccine.
We should ensure that we remove barriers to vaccination for the most vulnerable in India to minimise preventable disease and deaths.
At the national level, the recent decision to procure vaccines centrally and make COVID-19 vaccines available free of cost through the public system goes a long way towards ensuring equity and justice.
Question- The vaccine distribution policy should be based on the principle of equity and justice targeting the most vulnerable on priority basis. Elucidate.
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