Coronavirus Vaccination: Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is great news but it may not be easily available in India. Here's why
New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: US Pharma major Pfizer and its German partner BioNtech have created a splash with their announcement of a potential Covid-19 vaccine candidate that has shown 90% effectiveness in their late-stage clinical trials. Company executives have claimed that they could get 15 to 20 million people immunized by the end of this year. A spokesperson from Pharma company also said that the vaccine candidate has the potential to be an important part of India’s early vaccine response to the pandemic in priority geographies and populations., The Hindu reported. However, experts have voiced their apprehensions saying the vaccine could be out of bounds for Asian countries like India given the humid weather condition and lack of good infrastructure.
Pfizer had announced its results are based on 94 cases of covid-19 that showed up in their larger clinical trial after participants had either received two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. Experts say, though it's great news but 94 subjects are not enough, it must be tested in real-world scenarios with more test subjects to understand its efficacy.
The biggest problem that Pfizer vaccine is likely to face in a country like India would its storage. It needs to be stored at -80 degrees Celsius to maintain its potency which is far below the usual storage temperature maintained for vaccines i.e. -2 to -8 degrees celsius.
Most if not all the current frontrunners require extremely stringent cold chains, making them immensely challenging for India to implement,” Satyajit Rath from New Delhi’s National Institute of Immunology (NII), told the Economic Times in October.
It becomes a greater problem in a developing country like India where such robust infrastructure is not in place. Another big challenge is to inject these vaccines within five days or it will go bad.
Another logistic hurdle would be to deliver a second booster shot a month later. Now, countries will need to build from scratch the deep-freeze production, storage and transportation networks needed for the vaccine to survive.
Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha