Now that the nation-wide drive to vaccinate the population with the antidote to Covid-19 is about to be launched, the government needs to ensure uniformity in its cost to the people as well. Commendable as is the drawing of the blueprint in the minutest of detail prepared by the Centre, the confusion over the price of the vaccines to be launched by various manufacturers too must be resolved beforehand.
Ideally, the vaccine ought to be made available to all citizens, regardless of their income status. For, even though those who can well afford to pay, and might not mind doing so, to protect themselves against the infection, retaining such a category in the blueprint is bound to create confusion and even lead to corruption. In the interest of an efficient and hassle-free execution of the vaccination programme, vaccines should be universally free.
Let the Centre and the States share the costs. Public-spirited citizens and corporations can salve their conscience by contributing generously to public and/or charitable hospitals. Also, the central and state governments need to launch a massive, nation-wide awareness programme to allay doubts about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine. An opinion survey which revealed that 67 per cent people were unwilling to be inoculated poses a challenge to the health authorities. For, without vaccinating a large chunk of the population, the desired herd immunity might be difficult to attain. A concerted campaign to fight the anti-vaccine superstition should be rolled out immediately.