Sunday, August 1, 2021

Centre working on plan to allot Covid vaccines equitably

New Delhi: The government is working on a formula that would give weightage to active caseload, mortality rate and population density for an “equitable” distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine once cleared by the regulatory authorities.

Those familiar with the details told ET that the formula will help states to scientifically identify and inoculate priority groups. This, they added, would also be an objective way to address the delicate question of who should have access to the first 10 million doses.

According to sources, the first 10 million doses would not be “equally” but “equitably” distributed.

Most Deaths Reported by Bengal, Kerala

This would mean that if two states have more or less a similar active caseload, then the one with higher mortality and population density will get priority.

“Having 20,000 active cases in Haryana is very different from having 20,000 active cases in Chhattisgarh. So the active caseloads coupled with population density change the pecking order for vaccination,” an official said.

Still, a senior government official told ET that active caseload will remain the “biggest factor as mortality is a consequence”. The highest mortality rates, which is another consideration for vaccine distribution for priority groups, are being reported from poll-bound states of West Bengal and Kerala.

According to health ministry data of the past 24 hours, Maharashtra reported the highest number of deaths at 50 followed by West Bengal at 27 and Chhattisgarh at 26. Along with Delhi, UP, Kerala, these six states accounted for 61% of new deaths.

Kerala, reported the highest caseloads followed by Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. As per the present matrix, Kerala and West Bengal may have a stronger claim to get higher doses.

“We need to break the chain of spread and the way to do that is to halt the spread in areas where the virus is spreading rapidly. It is a complicated question but we are working toward this,” the official quoted above said.

In the US, the government has selected McKeeson Corporation as its central distributor. This distributor is delivering vaccines via orders received from the states. Each state has identified priority groups with healthcare workers being the first.

In the UK, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), identified mortality and protection of health and social care staff as the main factors in the matrix. This is why the UK started with inoculating the elderly population in care homes.

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