Vaccination: understanding the challenges surrounding COVID-19 vaccination campaigns

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Shubham Gupta, a medical student from D.Y Patil Medical College, Kolhapur, Maharashtra , India. He 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.


The proverbial light at the end of the dark tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to come into sight. The scientific community has made tremendous strides in getting candidate vaccines through clinical development at unprecedented speed to meet the urgent public health need. But vaccines are only useful if people take them. Amid the fevered speculation about which COVID-19 vaccine will be successful and when it will hit the market, there has been much less focus on a critical aspect of the equation: ensuring the right people get the right vaccine at the right time. Failure to do so will allow COVID-19 to remain at large, with those most in need living in low- and middle-income countries likely to lose out.Countries need to start preparing to distribute a vaccine to the right populations at an unprecedented pace. Whilst most vaccines have little street value, initial limited supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine — compounded by a likely high demand from anxious populations will make it a target for theft and diversion.

    When it comes to public acceptance, we want to ensure that all who are eligible can get the vaccine, including high-risk populations, front-line and essential workers, and the young and healthy that transmit the disease to others.To do that, we need to ensure that there is a safe and effective vaccine and enough doses to give to everyone that needs it; that people see the value of being vaccinated; that they trust those who are providing the vaccine; and they have a way to get it. Second, there will likely be insufficient quantities to give to everyone initially and the public will need to trust the authorities who decide who gets it first. Explaining the rationale for allocations will be a challenge. Convincing the people most at risk that they should get the vaccine may be another challenge if the vaccine doesn’t work as well as we hope, if people don’t trust the safety of the vaccine or the government or system that has perhaps let them down in the past. Younger adults or otherwise healthy people may not see the need for a vaccine and we will need to ask them to do something they might not otherwise do to help others.

Finally, accessing the vaccine may also be a challenge for some. They may have work or family responsibilities that don’t enable them to take time off to be vaccinated—possibly twice if it requires 2 doses—or have other reasons that make it difficult to access vaccination services such as lack of transportation, perceptions about costs, their family members or the community are also suspicious of the vaccine, fear of deportation, being treated poorly, or other types of discrimination.

  Although early results are promising, we still don’t know what a vaccine will look like and how effective and safe it will be in certain populations. We will likely still need to be vigilant about washing our hands and isolating when testing positive or showing symptoms as no vaccine is 100% effective and certain people will still be susceptible. People should also get other vaccines including influenza or other recommended immunizations and should continue to take steps to prevent other health issues.

Preventing excess death, long hospital stays, and persistent effects that leave patients weakened and more susceptible to other diseases will help reduce hundreds of billions of dollars in direct medical cost due the pandemic alone, free up hundreds of millions of hospital beds that may be needed for other diseases, and help prevent the potentially catastrophic economic impact of long-term illness to families and society.

About the author

Shubnam Gupta is dedicated, hardworking and approachable person with a passion of doing something great and helping people succeed. He is highly enthusiastic and focused with great work ethic and strong communication skills. He has the right attitude, a relevant academic background. He is a creative and strategic thinker with a solid ability in developing innovative strategies to generate new ideas. He has worked on the topic COLOUR & COGNITION (Indian Council of Medical Research (Short term student fellowship program),3T-IBHSc (Train, teach and transfer program)-Integrated Bioethics for Health Sciences, International Course in Bioethics for Medical, Dental & Health Sciences, Teaching faculties of Health Sciences University at Kolhapur& India. Working on Sex and Reproductive Health including HIV & AIDS and Human Public Rights, MSAI (Medical Students’ Associations India), Presently conducting research on drug Dependence in adults, Environment health, Antimicrobial Resistance, Member of Steering Committee of India Bioethics Unit, UNESCO Haifa & Head of “KOLHAPUR INDIA – BIOETHICS UNIT, UNESCO Haifa ”. Was Student Reporter at The Times of India ( NIE), Mumbai. Recently completed courses from WHO, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Harvard Medical School Master of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery, Coventry University & Accenture 

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Public Health: EU Tobacco Products Directive is delivering but stronger action is needed

UN chief welcomes new Government in Lebanon, after eight-month impasse

Island nations on climate crisis frontline ‘not sitting idly by’

ECB bets billions on Eurozone’s economic recovery

Is there a cure for corruption in Greece?

Saudi Arabia expresses ‘regret and pain’ over Khashoggi killing, during UN rights review

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

As the year closes out, UN political chief talks the art of diplomacy – and crises to watch in 2019.

Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN

Amid troop build-up in Rohingya’s home state, UN appeals to Myanmar for peaceful solution

UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ as Israel-Hamas tensions rise over rocket attack

“Let hope be the antidote to fear” – Today’s WHO briefing and other key Coronavirus updates, tips and tools

UN Human Rights chief urges Venezuela to halt grave rights violations

Is continuous sanctioning the way to resolve the Ukrainian crisis?

How Africa’s women can drive the 4IR forward

E-cigars: Improbable ally or enemy in disguise?

Who’s promised net-zero, and who looks likely to get there?

This is how drones and other ‘tradetech’ are transforming international trade

This is what’s happening to the Amazon, according to NASA

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

Tragedy of Mediterranean deaths continues, as seven drown, 57 rescued: UN migration agency

Palliative care and Universal Health Coverage: Do not leave those suffering behind

The price of centralization of human resources for health

‘Climate change is the battle of my life’, UN chief tells students living on the frontline in Fiji

Perspective on the policy of disinformation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

State aid: Commission approves €380 million German rescue aid to Condor

UN experts urge Turkey to repatriate Irish woman associated with terror group

Urban Waste Water: Commission decides to refer HUNGARY to the Court of Justice over waste water treatment

Innovations in reusable packaging need a playbook. Here’s why

Palliative care and Universal Health Coverage: how to advocate for the inclusion of palliative care in UHC

Is Universal Health Coverage really available for all in the European Union?

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Global Business Community Comes to Paris with Solutions for Taking On the Climate Challenge Across the Board

Why leaders need to upgrade their operating systems

A new catastrophic phase in the Syrian carnage

Cyclone Idai: emergency getting ‘bigger by the hour’, warns UN food agency

Eurozone closer to a deflation – stagnation trap

As rural communities age, their public transport is shrinking. It’s time to fix this

G7: A serious setback hardly avoided in iconic Biarritz

Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Ming at a Virtual Event Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China

UNESCO food and culture forum dishes up fresh serving of SDGs

How many more financial crises in the West can the world stand?

Trump to subject the Fed, challenge the ECB and make Wall St. bankers even richer

The costs of corruption: values, economic development under assault, trillions lost, says Guterres

The ASEAN Community sees the light: the genesis of a new powerful economic and political bloc and EU’s big opportunity

G20 LIVE: the EU trade gold rush continues as EU and Australia agree to launch Free Trade Agreement (FTA) live from Antalya Turkey

‘Free state aid’ for imprudent banks

Parliament boosts consumer rights online and offline

How telehealth can get healthcare to more people

Monday’s Daily Brief: ‘Horror’ at Notre Dame fire disaster, Yemen still bleeding, measles now ‘global crisis’

Smoking VS Vaping: is it a battle?

EU-Turkey relations: Will Turkey manage to revive the EU accession process talks?

Human rights defenders, too often left defenceless themselves – UN expert

Why we need to rethink geo-economics to beat climate change

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Stop Finning – Stop the trade’ initiative

These Harvard scientists think we’ll have to socially distance until 2022

Vaccine against Ebola: Commission grants first-ever market authorisation

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

How has tech been used for good in civil society? We asked the experts

Financing economic recovery, written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s