Vaccine availability still uncertain for all
THE government should explore more sources of Covid-19 vaccines, instead of relying only on the ones currently being considered, and take part in vaccine trials immediately to meet future needs, experts say. They also said the country's overall vaccination efforts may turn futile if people did not accept the vaccines "positively".
The experts made the comment while speaking at a discussion at the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) conference room in the capital on Saturday. Bangladesh Health Reporters' Forum (BHRF) organised the event as part of a series of dialogues on Covid-19.
Bangladesh has already made an advance payment of Tk 509 crore for three crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Serum Institute India (SII). The government has also announced that it will procure 68 million shots of vaccine under a global arrangement called COVAX.
The point is that we do not know how long these vaccines will give us immunity. If the novel coronavirus regularly mutates -- like the influenza virus -- we may need regular vaccination. In this case, we should think of sustainable sources. And by sustainable sources we mean to say that the sources should be diverse.
We have said in earlier editorials that the policy of keeping our eggs in one basket is not wise. The experts have merely stated what we have already envisioned before. It is not safe to simply rely on one country to give us vaccines. We should rely on multiple countries and companies to ensure that we have the most diversified base to get vaccines from.
In the meantime we can build up our health infrastructure to ensure that we have the ability to keep vaccines in cold storage indefinitely from point of origin to the final destination. This will ensure that we remain prepared for any eventuality --whether predictable or not. The old adage of putting all our eggs in one basket still stands as an axiom.