India’s Covid-19 campaign saved over 3.4 million lives; had positive impact on economy: Report

The Covid vaccination campaign also yielded a positive economic impact by preventing a loss of USD 18.3 billion.

Published: 25th February 2023 12:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2023 12:02 AM   |  A+A-

Covid, Coronavirus, Covid vaccine, Monoclonal antibody therapy

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India was able to save over 3.4 million lives by undertaking a nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign at an unprecedented scale, said a Stanford University working paper released on Friday.

The Covid vaccination campaign also yielded a positive economic impact by preventing a loss of USD 18.3 billion, the working paper by Stanford University and Institute for Competitiveness titled ‘Healing the Economy: Estimating the Economic Impact on India’s vaccination and related issues’ said. The paper was released by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

It discussed the role of containment as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus and mentioned some examples like ‘Bhilwara’, ‘Dharavi’, and ‘Kerala’ “as a reference point of a successful containment strategy.

”.. wherein it can be deduced that containment can bring about maximum effect with delegation of power to the local level, quick response action, constant coordination among stakeholders, and roping in technology to enhance the delivery of services and real time record keeping,” the report said.

The paper elaborated on the three cornerstones of India’s strategy- containment, relief package and vaccine administration – which it said were critical in saving lives and ensuring economic activity by containing the spread of Covid-19, sustaining livelihoods and developing immunity against the virus.

“Containment brought about envisaged gains with a bottom-up approach contrary to the counterfactual top-down approach,” it added. 

It said that containment worked as a double-edged sword since it not only ensured some economic activity but also reduced the burden on health infrastructure.

“The initial lockdown helped India ‘flatten the curve’ and buy essential time in revamping the health infrastructure. This was complemented with a localized containment strategy,” it added.

It stressed that containment was not just limited to restricting the spread of the virus, but to the whole set of measures required to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods.

Virtually addressing the ‘The India Dialog’ session on the Economic Impact of Vaccination and Related Matters, Mandaviya hailed the early decision of lockdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a significant turning point.

He said it enabled the government to leverage community response in its five-pronged strategy namely Test, Track, Treat, Vaccination, Adherence for implementing Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) and delivering a rapid and robust institutional response to combat Covid-19.

He said that the government focused on augmenting health infrastructure in terms of Covid-related beds, drugs, logistics i.e., N-95 masks, PPE kits and medical oxygen, simultaneously up-skilling human resources though Centres of Excellences and deploying digital solutions such as eSanjeevani Telemedicine service, Aarogya Setu, Covid-19 India Portal etc.

The dialog was organised by Institute for Competitiveness and US-Asia Technology Management Center, Stanford University.

Mandaviya said that much before Covid-19 was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) in January 2020, processes and structures to focus dedicatedly on various facets of the pandemic management were put in place.

The minister said that building on this momentum, India launched the world’s biggest vaccination drive, garnering a coverage of 97 percent first dosage and 90 percent of the second dosage, administering 2.2 billion dosages in all for eligible beneficiaries. The drive focused on equitable coverage for all, hence vaccines were provided free of cost to all citizens, he added.

The report highlighted the robust measures at the ground level, like contact tracing, mass testing, home quarantine, distribution of essential medical equipment, revamping healthcare infrastructure and constant coordination among stakeholders at the centre, state and district levels not only helped contain the spread of the virus but also in augmenting the health infrastructure.

The paper said that the development of vaccines - COVAXIN and Covishield - helped fight the country against the pernicious attack of the virus and not only inoculate a large number of people but also decrease the burden on the healthcare system.

Mandaviya said the relief package by the government for people catered to the welfare needs of the vulnerable groups, old-age population, farmers, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), women entrepreneurs among others and also ensured support for their livelihoods.


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