Ensure affordability and availability of C-19 vaccine
United Nations' Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the need for making coronavirus vaccine affordable and available to mass people, once manufactured commercially. The secretary-general came up with the call at a press conference ahead of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Week on Wednesday. He noted that the coronavirus outbreak is still out of control and the death toll from the virus would soon reach a one million mark.
However, many developed countries have been investing millions of dollars in research and development for an effective coronavirus vaccine since the beginning of the outbreak of the disease. Several vaccine efforts are progressing at varying paces. Even though the average vaccine for any ailment takes a whopping 10 to 12 years to develop, different research firms are trying to develop and start mass production as soon as possible. Consequently, it is expected that a vaccine could be available within this year. Under this circumstance, there is possibility of inflated price of this vaccine, which may be out of common people's reach-especially in the underdeveloped and developing countries.
As production kicks off, it is imperative that a vaccine policy is formulated for the whole world, ensuring access for all. The initial production costs are likely to be high and it is the duty of governments to reduce the cost making the vaccine available at an affordable price. Leaving gaps in the supply chain and distribution of the vaccine will only allow the virus to survive and continue to wreak further damage.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh must formulate a specific policy on the COVID-19 vaccine including preparing resources, both material and human, distribution and delivery. In the initial stages, health workers and those at high risk including senior citizens should be brought under vaccination programme.
We should keep in mind that a vaccine alone cannot solve this crisis, certainly not in the near term. We need to massively expand new and existing tools that can respond to new cases and provide vital treatment to suppress transmission and save lives.Unfortunately, large populations in various countries are reluctant to take a new coronavirus vaccine due to misinformation. In the face of this lethal disease, we must do our utmost to halt deadly misinformation. We also think like the UN secretary general that Covid-19 is "the number one global security threat in our world today". Since the virus respects no international borders, it is imperative to ensure a vaccine at an affordable price for all.