Challenges that surround the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Mahek Majid Rather, a medical student from Pakistan. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


There are lots of challenges that surround the COVID 19  vaccination campaign. The basic challenges for such campaigns Apart from manufacturing the main challenge are the choosing the population, making them understand the importance of vaccination n moreover convincing them to get vaccinated, cost of vaccination and also any misuse of the vaccine is to be taken care of.

The major challenges are:

Getting a vaccine for such a large population will be like nothing the US has done before. It will require enough raw materials to manufacture the doses and enough factories to produce them. Then distribution of the vaccines to different localities, which will have to distribute them at the local level based on need — all while keeping the vaccines safely stored at the right temperature. Health care and communication systems will need to be set up.

Identification of vulnerable population: The second biggest challenge for such campaigns  will be identification of vulnerable populations and prioritising the population to whom the vaccination is to be given first population to be given later on and for all this there needs to be Transportation!

Then there should be transparency in providing the vaccine the safety of the vaccine while transportation to the different areas is also one of the challenges.

Main of specific suitable temptation while transporting and then prevention of any kind of damage to vaccine the thing to be taken care of.

Distribution

As it is a global issue, the distribution of the vaccine is vital as distribution has never been done on such a large scale before, as well as with distribution comes equitable access to vaccines globally. But the demand is massive. Complicating things further, most national vaccine distribution systems are designed to ensure that children receive their full immunization schedule — not for large scale adult vaccination programs.

UNICEF and others have begun to work on this, and plan to have 65,000 solar cold-chain fridges in place in lower-income countries by the end of 2021

Corruption and  Misuse of vaccine

Another big challenge to face is the corrupted vaccine and the also the using the vaccine as weapon against innocent people the mostly the underdeveloped countries are the soft target to this as they mainly depending on other countries of the production of vaccine as the initial limited supplies of the vaccine —will make it a target for theft and diversion ,making it more likely that substandard and falsified vaccines will appear on the market. The impact of these could be devastating, fueling   and distrust, worsening the pandemic, and ultimately costing lives of the people

Another risk of the vaccine is being the new weapon with which powerful countries attempt to wield geopolitical influence. As per now Russia has claimed the successful trials of vaccines, so many countries have already shown the interest to buy the vaccine. The vaccine was approved by Russia in August, prior to phase 3 trial and this needs to be taken care of.

While many countries have begun to plan for distribution, safety must be put in place to protect supply chains from theft and diversion to the black market.

‌making vaccine available to all

The distribution of the vaccine should be made available as well as it should be accessible to the people, and for this the biggest thing is cost.

If it is too expensive the underdeveloped countries will not be able to afford it and people simply can’t and won’t get it. The federal government has laid out plans to try to ensure a vaccine is free for everyone, but it’s possible some people, particularly the uninsured or underinsured, could fall through the cracks.

And if it is available at low cost  then also the accessibility is the big issue.

Keeping check on the dosage

The vaccination programs have to keep check and balance that the people get the 2nd dose as well as we all know that people are very bad at follow ups. In overpopulated countries like India it becomes very different to meet up with this. It quite different to maintain records of such a huge population and people themselves need motivation to keep the record and get the required number of doses in.

‌Convincing the public to take vaccine

It is the biggest challenge to overcome

It’s not enough to make and distribute vaccines getting people vaccine . There are lots of hurdles to cross.  People need to make the importance of getting vaccinated clear their doubt regarding the effectiveness of drugs.  While that might differ with a potentially lifesaving vaccine in the middle of a pandemic, local and health care agencies will need to be ready to aggressively follow up with people to get them to go back for a second dose. It will be the major challenge

So trying to shame people into getting a vaccine isn’t going to work. The public will need to be persuaded — convinced that, as the clinical trials have demonstrated so far, the vaccines are safe and effective.

People need to understand the importance of vaccination and vaccination programs should also make sure that the vaccine is safe for the people and  accessible and affordable to all.

Then only we can overcome this global issue and this won’t be possible with the help of the government . Government plays the major role  As WHO (world Health Organization) works  along with country governments, a lot needs to be done to overcome such challenges.

About the author

Ms. Mahek Majid Rather is a medical student from Pakistan.

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