COVID vaccination campaign. What are the challenges?

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Minahil Iqbal, a 1st year medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, 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.

Since the day that the global pandemic started, health care professionals and general masses have been hungry to listen to any good news, news that the pain and grief of mankind has been relieved, news that we are returning back to life with an end to social distancing and news that the world has been saved.

But how can the world be saved? Vaccination is the answer. The safest way to protect the masses from the deadly virus and to bring the pandemic to an end, is by vaccine. Vaccines have always been the most promising tool against microbes.

The most important question in these times is, “Will the right people get the right vaccine at the right time?” Equitable and wide access to affordable, effective, and safe vaccines is a human right and is essential to control the pandemic. But a lot of challenges are surrounding COVID-19 vaccine campaigns.

Listed here are some challenges surrounding COVID -19 vaccination campaigns:-

  1. Framing the vaccine campaign

The impact of the vaccines will depend on a lot of factors including effectiveness of the vaccine, manufacturing speed, identification of vulnerable populations, equitable distribution, delivery to remote areas, transparency in distribution, and adequate refrigeration storage to preserve the vaccine.

  • Vaccine hesitancy

Weariness with current public health restrictions has led to vaccine hesitancy. Some people doubt that speed of vaccine development and rapid approval can compromise safety standards.

  • Supply logistics

Rapid distribution and equal availability of the COVID vaccine will be one of the biggest logistical challenges the world will ever see. Regulators should share data and analysis to ensure transparency.

  • Pricing

How much does the vaccine cost and who will pay for it? Can the already suffering economies of 3rd world countries afford this vaccine? This is currently the most challenging question arising in everyone’s mind. Not making the vaccine affordable for middle income countries would be morally wrong. 

  • Threat of outbreak

Until every person on the planet achieves immunity and gets vaccinated, current public health measures should not be loosened. People rushing to see long missed families and friends could trigger outbreaks even during the delivery of vaccines.

  • Risk of theft and corruption

Initial little supply of vaccine can be subjected to theft and diversion to the black market. There is a risk of substandard vaccine surge on the market, worsening pandemic, and costing lives. Moreover vaccines should not be used as a weapon by powerful states to wield geopolitical influence.

Pandemic has already shaken the global health system and economy by their roots. Improper vaccine campaign will not only allow COVID to remain at large but will also keep on threatening humanity.

Let us hope and work together for a more transparent health care system and robust vaccine delivery chains, making the world better positioned to cope with future pandemics and health crises, ensuring that people no matter where they live have access to better performing and well-structured health care systems.

About the author

Minahil Iqbal is a 1st year medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan. She is an active member of International Federation of Medical Students Association Pakistan. She is an enthusiastic learner and believes in the power of knowledge. She envisions a world where everyone gets equal opportunities to act and thrive.

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