13 June, 2021

A Dose Of Sanity

Careful planning is the way towards a Covid vaccine

Photograph by AP/PTI
A Dose Of Sanity

It is presumptuous to be writing about what might be the government’s Covid vaccine policy when we are still groping our way around in understanding the full import of the virus. Yet, conversations about it have begun in the media and policy corridors. Given the enormity of the task, such conversations are important in helping us understand the risks and challenges ahead. Early, planned and decisive action can minimise unintended or contrarian outcomes.

Public policy has two aspects—the justification and the implementation, the intent and the form; the cerebral and the concrete that one can grasp. A good policy needs to have clarity on all its four dimensions—its objectives, implementation design, funding and outcomes. Comprehensive information on the efficacy, technical parameters and cost is prerequisite as it has a direct bearing on the policy architecture.

Efficacy is critical. In 2010, at the early stages of the H1N1 outbreak, the vaccine had a poor off-take only because it had a 50% efficacy, resulting in a large number of vaccines lying...

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