Centre’s two week roadmap for vaccinating everyone over 45, particularly those in districts witnessing a surge of Covid infections, finally puts India’s vaccination programme on an ambitious trajectory. So far, the pace of vaccination has been too slow and unable to make a dent in the fast rise of cases.
However, Centre isn’t convinced about the feasibility of door to door vaccination as has been propounded by some experts. A major difficulty that has dogged the vaccination programme is that not enough people are turning up at health facilities for their shots. Relaxing age groups is one way to utilise capacity in this situation. The other is to take the vaccination to doorstep as has been done with India’s universal immunisation programme for children.
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Having set the two week roadmap it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to work to make this succeed. For starters, Centre should release as many doses as this would entail. States should go all out to reach out to all beneficiaries in the 45-plus age group. Unless both steps happen simultaneously, this plan could be a nonstarter. This is the time to demonstrate cooperative federalism in letter and spirit.
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