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Modi-Biden Talks, Phase 3 Trials Put Vaccine Juggernaut Back On Track

Business and economy need people to come together, work together. But the deadly virus also needs this vibrant togetherness to grow and circulate, mutate and spread. As long as this virus stays unsubdued, not only India’s $5-trillion-economy dream is threatened but also its operational $3-trillion economy, now staring at incalculable toll. In the absence of any vaccine promise, we opened with brave slogans – #LivingWithCorona #MyFamilyMyResponsibility etc. For a while it looked like working — with farmers’ agitation in full flow; people thronging to rallies in poll-bound states; mandis, malls and pubs drawing footfalls; even pilgrimage tourism (for devotees with Covid-19 negative report) reviving via Haridwar Kumbh Mela (key dates being April 12, 14, 21, 27 though crowds thinned down after PM Narendra Modi’s appeal to seers on Apr 17). But now, #LivingWithCorona is not working as lockdown hits state after state amid a ferocious Covid resurrection. The April 26 count: over 3.5 lakh news cases and 2,812 deaths in 24 hours. Clearly, the only deterrence against the virus is Vaccine. With phase 3 trials showing Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin’s efficacy against severe Covid-19 disease at 100% and an overall efficacy at 78%, Shashi Tharoor fans couldn’t have asked for more. Also, with US agreeing to lift embargo on ‘vaccine materials’ following PM Modi’s call with US President Joe Biden, India’s vaccine juggernaut – led by Serum Institute’s Covishield – should be back on track. Already, after 100 days of world’s largest vaccination drive, 14.2 crore jabs have been given. Hopefully, the MRP hagglers won’t give tough time to vaccine makers now.