Oftentimes we learn of customers’ pleadings in medical shops, ” Sir, my son is suffering from high fever. Please give some tablets that can stop the fever in a day “. The chief intent is to take care of the immediate problem even if it means spending a few rupees more to get them.
Whether the medical problem is solved or not, medicines sought and purchased without a valid prescription from a doctor for a disease not diagnosed by him/her will always run the risk of inducing unexpected side effects. This may also be known to many who practise it.
In these circumstances, ” Amma Mini Clinics Scheme” initiated by the Government of Tamil Nadu (December 14/15, 2020) is really a boon to common Citizens. Reasons are manifold for the poor people not visiting hospitals for their medical deficiencies. For a good number of people residing in a far too distant locality, visiting hospitals will entail an arduous journey.
Government hospitals provide free medical care to Citizens. But they will have to wait for a long time : To get an entrance card ; For consultation with a doctor ; Access to the place of medical examination for diagnosis ; For the laboratory tests to be completed ; For taking injections ; and in Drug counters for receiving the medicines. A complete day will be lost not to mention the loss of daily wage for the individual/patient.
Private hospitals known for their extreme care will only burden the individual/patient with a host of Laboratory Tests ; recommending consultations with specialists; and prescriptions of medicines beyond what may actually be needed in terms of cost. Lingering doubts and fear in the minds of individuals/patients will be more than the sickness they may have come to relieve themselves from.
For the above reasons, the only occasion poor go to hospitals is either pregnancy care or accident care that cannot be avoided. For common ailments they feel satisfied with the medicines given by the medical shop superintendents.
The arrival of “Amma Mini Clinics” is expected to transform the situation in a way even the poor can receive medical consultation and help with a a broad mindset.
At present, there exists one Primary Health Centre for every 50000 people in cities ; and one for every 30000 people in rural areas. The focus of “Amma Mini Clinics” is to open at least 2000 Clinics throughout Tamil Nadu each catering to every 5 to 10 thousand people.
Chennai city will have 200 ; other cities will have 200 ; and the rural areas/villages will have 1400 – a total a of 1800 mini clinics plus about 200 mobile clinics making 2000 overall.
As at present about 47 clinics in Chennai and about 630 clinics in other districts are functioning.
Each clinic will have a doctor ; a nurse ; and an assistant/compounder. The clinics will function for 8 hours each day. Including infectious diseases, medical care will be extended to cover all other diseases. Facilities for medical consultation for pregnant women ; blood and sputum examination ; and other tests will be available. It is hoped that people, mainly the poor/downtrodden will no longer have to depend upon medicines from the shops directly or avoid getting trapped by quacks.
For cases that grow serious after preliminary entry into these clinics, necessary treatment in big hospitals will be made available.
A serious disadvantage in our Political System that makes any good move less attractive concerns the reversal ; abandonment ; or tweaking to satisfy one’s fancy whenever a different Government or Political dispensation takes control. Also, on occasions even when same Government continues in charge – citing paucity of funds and allocating less financial resources – it tries to make the entire Socially Beneficial Program void of its noble ideals portraying shameless misery.
A Program that didn’t meet with any such utter misery has been the Program, brought into effect by the Late CM of Tamil nadu, K Kamaraj in the 1960s, titled ” Mid Day Meal Scheme “. The noble intention here is to increase the number of poor people to enroll in Primary Education. Late CM of Tamil Nadu, MG Ramachandran, in the 1980s followed suit with many improvements to the Scheme expanding enrolment and making it the, “Nutritious Meal Program”. A model program that is being sustained without a break since the Sixties.
The present Scheme of “Amma Mini Clinics” is intended to pave the right and noble path to Healthcare for specially the poor and downtrodden in Tamil Nadu. It is designed to emulate the Mid Day Meal Scheme (Education enrollment) with focus on Healthcare.
Couplet 948 of ‘Thirukkural’ states : “Disease, its cause, what may abate the ill ; Let leech examine these, then use his skill”.
It means : ‘Let the physician enquire into the (nature of the) disease, its cause and its method of cure and treat it faithfully according to (medical rule)’.
Arrival of “Amma Mini Clinics” will be helpful to enhance the healthcare of poor and downtrodden is the Future Hope in Tamilnadu.
“Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, December 26, 2020 – 8.39 p.m. (IST)
Tudbit : ” We are all human. Every human life is worth the same, and worth caring “.
Mutations of viruses follow their behaviors and actions as rules to be followed. COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has done exactly that in Britain.
If the discovery of vaccines is anything that can relieve the anxiety and stress of COVID-19, the mutated virus of COVID-19 spreading in Britain only aggravates the intensity of our anxiety and stress to the next level.
It is, however, comforting to know that the mRNA vaccine from ‘Moderna’ can be as effective against the mutated virus as against COVID-19 – from what has been declared by the manufacturers.
We do not have full details of the new virus yet. Communicating transparently that COVID-19 and the mutant virus are spreading quickly, Britain imposed a lockdown in many places. The general expectations that relaxations of restrictions will get people enthused and be prepared for the New Year celebrations stand belied. The frightening prospects that a second wave or a similar serious incident will likely strike soon is happening as many nations imagined.
British Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has shared information that the new variant of COVID-19 is spreading faster than COVID-19 – faster by at least 70%. After finding the variant in contacts of cases that travelled from South Africa, Britain imposed stringent restrictions on people travelling from South Africa. Simultaneously some countries have imposed severe restrictions on people travelling from Britain.
Medical experts are sure/unsure about a few aspects at least at this juncture :
1. While there is consensus about mutating variants of COVID-19 originating, whether they will be responsible for the more serious threat with accelerated spread happening now ; (Unsure)
2. That mutating variants may be existing even at the time of early COVID-19 incident in January according to Scientists and Researchers of Vaccine discovery; (Unsure)
3. Mutating variants may not be a cause for any setback to research on vaccines; (Sure)
4. Most vaccines in their final stages of clincal trial have only increased the immunity capacity with no vulnerability detected; (Sure)
5. The vaccines discovered now possess the effectiveness to control even Flu and other variations of the virus impact ; (Unsure)
6. Whether the viruses lose their potency but not get totally eliminated even after vaccine administration. Atmosphere still may hold millions of viruses many of which remain well challenged by the natural immunity characteristics of human beings. Viruses causing serious impact on living animals and human beings periodically while losing their strength (re-emerging later) is a fact known to us all ; (Sure)
In the last 300 years we have witnessed at least one virus causing serious damage to human life every hundred years. Plague, Spanish Flu, and now COVID-19. Spanish Flu alone took the lives of more than 10 crores.
Lockdowns are not the only way forward to contain the viruses as we have experienced this year, in 2020.
Our life is in our hands only.
” Individual Care, Precautionary Measures, and Close Self-monitoring are the most effective remedial measures to avert Human Disaster.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, December 26, 2020 – 8.55 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” It’s weird, not to be weird “
December 25 is a day of celebration after the tumultuous months of Coronavirus combined with the emotional, mental, and political turmoil inflicted in our minds of events during the period.
Stars, statues, huts, Christmas trees, Christmas carols, Christmas cakes, flowers, balloons, and not the least – the Santa Claus – mark the usual festive decorations of homes and signs of status.
Christmas, however, is not celebrated or even recognised as a festive occasion in some countries of the Globe still. Holiday is not even declared in at least 40 countries. Permission is granted only for Christmas trees in many of these countries. At least 18 nations do not celebrate the Festival in any manner.
The list of those countries is given below :
1. Afghanistan : Since 1990s when the Taliban forces took control of this Islamic nation, Christmas has never been celebrated.
2. Algeria : Liberated from France (Christians) in 1962, this nation of predominantly Muslims has not celebrated Christmas with State Authorization.
3. Bhutan : Christians constitute only 1% of the population in this country. This country following Buddhism does not have Christmas in its national calendar.
4. Brunei : Oil rich nation of Islam has banned the celebration of Christmas since 2015. Violation of this rule will invoke a 5 year imprisonment, or $ 20000 in fines, or both. At the same time those belonging to religions other than Islam can hold functions in a restricted manner. Pompous Celebrations create evil consequences to Islam – is the belief.
5. China : Christmas is banned in this country. December 25 is a usual working day. Schools, colleges, offices, and markets will remain open.
6. Comoras : This nation is primarily a Sunni Muslim nation ( 98% population ) located in the islands of Indian Ocean. Celebrations are banned in common areas, places, and routes.
7. Libya : A predominantly Muslim nation, it celebrates December 24, its Independence Day. Christmas is not celebrated.
8. Mauritonia : The Christian population is meagre compared to Muslims in this country. They are also not recognised in this country. Hence, no celebrations.
9. Mongolia : The country following Buddhism is home to a small group of Christians. But it has no Christmas Holiday.
10. North Korea : The country observes the Communist Principles of a non-existent God. Despite this country being home to people from other nations, Christmas is not accepted as a celebratory event according to its regulations.
11. Pakistan : The country celebrates December 25 as Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday and so it is a National Holiday. Christians indulging in celebrations (Christmas) have no safety ensured.
12. Sharwi Arab Democratic Republic : Muslims constitute the major section of this nation’s population and Christmas is not celebrated.
13. Saudi Arabia : Christmas related celebratory events and Christmas trees are banned in the last 10 years.
14. Somalia : Following the acceptance of the Shariat Laws in this country, Christmas celebration has been banned in this country. It also cautions people that Christmas celebrations will threaten the faith of people in Islam.
15. Tajikistan : Formerly a part of Soviet Union, this country has banned Christmas trees and Celebrations with prize awards in schools.
16. Tunisia : This nation is not against Christians or celebrations of Christmas. But December 25 is not a Holiday. It is observed as a regular working day.
17. Uzbekistan : About 10% of the population constitute Eastern Orthodox Christians here. But, instead of the Christmas celebrations New Year is celebrated with enthusiasm, vigor, and pomp.
18. Yemen : War torn Yemen has not been celebrating Christmas in the last 10 years.
With Corona restrictions looming large still, the celebrations will sure be a subdued affair even in countries that are known to celebrate with energetic exuberance.
Significant to note is the fact that during the World War I when British Forces heard Christmas Carols from nearby areas on this day, they mistook the songs to be a German War Strategy. However, a temporary ceasefire followed with mutual agreement between the German and British forces bringing about an unexpected and astonishing change in their behaviour and action. The warring factions (both) started exchanging food, cigarettes, and other items as Christmas Gifts. They even played football games ; had hair cuts together ; and even worked alongside each other in burying the dead bodies. Jesus Christ’s preachings of ‘Peace and Love’ has been the stimulant for this was everyone’s belief.
” A Gift of God “.
When everyone of us knows that nothing is finite in this world, can this Christmas bring a peaceful solution to the ongoing Farmers’ Protests in Delhi is what every citizen will be hoping for.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, December 25, 2020 – 10.11 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Christmas is not a season, it is a feeling ” – Edna Ferber.
” President-elect Joe Biden’s Address after Electoral Count – Speaking with Clarity ” – December 14, 2020.
President-elect Joe Biden’s 10 minute address after the electors cast their votes on Monday (December 14, 2020) can be explained by history on two counts atleast. President-elect Joe Biden may not have read too many books to draw from to deliver this address. But it really carried the essence of his speech – ” Healing, Protecting the soul of the nation, Being an American President for everyone, Historical perspective in terms of the votes secured and electors won, and a Study in modern history and democracy”.
I would like to bring two points to general attention on this aspect :
1. The Great Indian Saint, Swami Vivekananda, once was going through a large number of books in his room. A disciple who came to serve him asked why and for what he was preparing so intensely. Swami Vivekananda replied : ” I have to deliver a speech next week and hence this preparation. Do not disturb me now “. The disciple sought his forgiveness and left the room but not before asking him how long he has to speak. Swami Vivekananda replied : ” 10 minutes “. The disciple stood in astonishment that Swami Vivekananda, a reputed speaker, needed so much preparation to speak for 10 minutes after a week. Swami Vivekananda emphasized that ‘speaking for short periods of time needs more preparation than speaking for long periods of time “.
President-elect, Joe Biden’s success in this Electoral College Votes Count has been a known event. He had days, and even a few weeks, to get ready for what he has to say. Assuming that his 10 minute speech would have been listened intensely by at least millions of citizens, it would mean that hundreds of millions of minutes of ( 10 × millions ) Citizens’ time to be used effectively and genuinely to make himself proud. The speech has its own importance nationally and internationally. The five points mentioned in the first paragraph is a clear vindication of his experience in terms of American Democracy, Legality, and Citizenry. Despite a series of hiccups during his speech, President-elect Joe Biden’s clarity of thought and purpose was of a high quality.
2. President-elect Joe Biden’s emphasis on being a President for all Americans engaging himself fully with even those who have not supported him in this election should bring to everyone’s memory, the following words of Abe Lincoln after his second election :
” I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom. While I am deeply sensible of the high compliment of reelection, and duly grateful as I trust to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result. May I ask those who have not differed from me to join with us in this same spirit towards those who have – “.
President-elect, Joe Biden, is echoing this sentiment while he says himself of being a President for all American Citizens trying to unite everyone, whether they voted for him or not. This again is a clear expression of his intent and purpose he is placing on himself with Clarity.
Conclusion : That this address has come at a time when the first shots of the VACCINE are being administered simultaneously is in itself a good omen for the future success of his administration.
Almighty God, Lord of all Nations, will surely help to realize the eminent sanctity of the ensuing Government.
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 – 8.11 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Speaking on Stage is also an Experience “.
” He has no magic wand ; he has no cards in his pocket ; he has no cards up his sleeve “.
Everyone is now staring at President Donald Trump. What did he do with the Election to find himself together with his supporters on this demolished remains of the Castle that represents the home of the Leadership of this World ?
Rejection of the lawsuits ( Georgia and Texas this week ) by the Supreme Court this week – as it probably felt it is time to cut to the chase – cannot be viewed as anything less than the final nail in the coffin carrying hopes of a miraculous overturning of the Peoples’ verdict in the General Election of November 3, 2020.
Hoping for the Congress to do something on January 6, 2021, ( despite about 127 Republican Congressmen being in favour at this juncture ) is to hope that people around supporting the action can fire the soul and do the impossible. No chance, it appears.
It is here, at this juncture, that the run off Elections in Georgia affords a refulgent glow to the possible ; a glow to see the visible ; a glow to faith, power, and will.
A victory in both the Senate seats on January 5, 2021, can be regarded as a clear vindication of the Republicans’ Campaign for Electoral misgivings and misfortunes of November 3 that they had to bear bravely, even as it means only 2 seats and a clear Senate majority in the new dispensation.
It makes this senate elections virtually a ” referendum ” of sorts even without any legal approval.
The least it can do is to make people think and reevaluate their opinions about the 50 odd charges ( 35 of them already defeated in courts ) that the Republicans brought as a sequel to their defeat in the Presidential Election even with zero chance of reexamination of the cases.
The least it can do is to embolden the party and people that Georgia’s swing in the General Election is an aberration that can be reversed next time.
The least it can do is to strengthen People’s resolve to regain balance and dignity to control the Senate.
A defeat on the contrary would mean that the landslide in the General Election touted by the Democrats is REAL giving a boost to Joe Biden and the unchallenging legitimacy of his election worldwide.
The stakes are unimaginably high for both the parties on this election of January 5, 2021.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, December 12, 2020 – 9.29 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Heaven is the only place where prayers are not made ” – Ellen J Barrier.
Time Magazine’s cover page on December 21, 2020, will feature President-elect, Joe Biden, and Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris ‘side by side’ as the Persons of the Year.
” Changing American Story ” in this election secured this prestigious annual honour to them.
The three other contenders for this honour were : 1. Frontline HealthCare Workers ; 2. Dr. Anthony Fauci ; and 3. Movement for Racial Injustice .
Standing ” Side by Side ” ( Cote a Cote ) what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris achieved in winning the Election will need to be strengthened while they take charge of the “Direction” and “Control” of the nation on January 20, 2021. Will of God has prevailed and the Will of People showered now.
Here are the 10 ways they can stand “side by side ” from January 20 , 2021.
1.Joe Biden and Kamala Harris pronounced the ideals of the nation ‘side by side’ while proclaiming that we are not Republicans or Democrats, but Americans ;
2.Joe Biden and Kamala Harris pledged all hues of Americans living ‘side by side’ in peace and security ;
3.They took pride in the divergent population constituting America and three to four generations of Americans living and working ‘side by side’ ;
4. Joe Biden avers that he will strive to promote relationships among other nations working ‘side by side’ to elevate America’s standing in the World ;
5. They emphasise standing ‘side by side’ with the international community in stamping out terrorism ;
6. They assure that the chances lost in the last four years will be restored and revived by living and working ‘side by side’ as Americans are used to living for centuries ;
7. It will be their endeavour to make people a ‘side by side’ companion of the actions of their administration to make possible a comparison with the previous Administration ;
8. They promise to reduce the disparities and differences existing ‘side by side’ among and localities in different regions of America ;
9. Their team will start to improve the potential for geographic mobility in as much as other nations work ‘side by side’ with America in its goal of World Peace, Health and Prosperity ; and
10. Their team will strive to promote a broader industry structure standing ‘side by side’ that will strike a balance between growth and profits and a growth in Community Development.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won their struggle in this election for maintaining in the nation a form and substance of Government whose primary objective will be to enhance and elevate the conditions of Citizens. Energy generated among the Citizens through their passionate words of ” healing, reconciliation, and revival ” to create a new future helped shape the public opinion on which the American Government has always rested. Future initiatives and Programs should incorporate sound, objective, and impassioned reasoning now.
” Forgive and Move Ahead ” will probably be their focus in future.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, December 11, 2020 – 3.35 p.m. ( IST)
Tidbit : ” Understanding the spirit of our Institutions to aim at the elevation of man, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them ” – Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Theodore Canisius on May 17, 1859.
Tonight’s US Senate debate held in the Atlanta Press Club, Georgia, witnessed a Businesswoman, Kelly Loeffler (Republican) and Pastor, Raphael Warnock (Democrat) partcipating in a relatively quiet and controlled event without much action.
The debate lasting 60 minutes had three sessions with one comprising questions from the debaters themselves.
A run off election described as critical and with high stakes, the participants strove mainly to protect their image dwelling mainly on broad aspects without getting down to the real nitty gritty.
The prize at hand for the Democrats is a complete and monumental victory for giving life to their plans and programs. The prize for the Republicans is to check the Democrats’ laughter and ambitious growth of their plans and Programs.
Kelly Loeffler stood out for her stiff, upright, and relaxed posture throughout the debate (while listening or answering) with a fixed smile. Her stance in the debate was affirmative in as much as she selected her key points of ‘ Living the American Dream ‘ ; getting the economy on the right tack ; respecting the police ; protecting the borders ; and fair, free, and trusted Election – all while justifying her belief and presenting her position on the issues. She highlighted her record including 1.5 million jobs created, about 174000 small businesses supported , and $ 7 billion brought to the hospitals. That she grew up in a farm, worked on fields in her early years , has been blessed to live the American Dream and will strive to shower the same to all Georgians will resonate well with the voters. She was calm and restrained and her arguments were persuasive. That she addressed her opponent on more than 20 occasions as ” radical, left, Raphael Warnock ” during the debate seemed undignified while the calm and respectful reactions of her opponent must have enhanced his dignity. Kelly Loeffler was also not hesitant to charge her opponent for his comments about the police, for calling Israel as apartheid , and his zero record on job creation. She also failed to give any convincing reply to questions on President Trump’s non-acceptance of the results of the Election, and her loyalty to President Donald Trump or Governor Kemp. She effectively dodged them, nevertheless. She repeatedly cited the 250 investigations in the election with neither political nor moral convictions.
Raphael Warnock was to the point in the debate even if he didn’t seem assertive enough. Loving and compassionate ; honest and accountable ; humble and committed ; inspiring and empowering – are all what one can take as his character from this debate. He had his community and church records only to strengthen his activities, and to what extent it will make an impression among voters politically will be known only on January 5, 2021. His main stress in the debate was on expanding Medicaid with Affordable Healthcare and implementation of vaccine (inoculation) while supporting the less endowed. Pastoral leadership is closely aligned with ” Servant Leadership ” in Politics that can come in handy if he is elected to the position.
From the debate performance perspective , Kelly Loeffler carries the day.
” Dieu avec nous “
Monday, December 7, 2020 – 7.51 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Fundamental change articulated by Chuck Schumer – ” we have taken Georgia, and next we will change the nation ” – should be defeated ” – Kelly Loeffler.
” First Joint Interview with President-elect Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris – Biden-Harris Team Good as New ” – December 3, 2020.
Biden-Harris team, set to occupy the great American throne on January 20, 2021, with 80 million plus strong American voters thronging to see their new act unfolding in the nation nonpareil for the next four years at the minimum represents the new found freedom, enthusiasm, and confidence now.
Jake Tapper of CNN is the interviewer.
These are the crux of their answers :
1. Follow ‘National Standards’ to fight Coronavirus aligning with Governors and Mayors.
2. Guidance and financial resources are key to combat the Coronavirus. ” Senate has to do its job genuinely”. His emphasis on the role of Kamala Harris, and her duty as VP in fulfilling this could not have been more clear.
3. I’ll take the vaccine when Dr Fauci says that the vaccine to be rolled out is safe and effective. He is in tune with what Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W Bush earlier averred that they will take the vaccine in public view to embolden the confidence of citizens and to dispel the skepticism if any.
4. Doctors, nurses, nursing home personnel, minorities, and people who have been most affected will be the first priority in vaccination.
5. Biden’s cabinet will look like the country with every major group represented.
6. Fulfilment of the commitments made and making right decisions will constitute the two strong pillars of his administration.
7. ” COVID, Economy, Race, and Climate Change ” are the four major aspects of immediate consideration for him.
8. He made clear that Iran should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Playing by International rules and norms will be the yardstick. Support of allies will be key to tackle any wrongdoing.
9. DoJ will act independently in his administration and there will be no interference in their investigations.
10. He stands for peaceful transition of power, end of chaos, and for elevation of the image of America in the eyes of the world.
11. He is ‘determined and confident’ to unite the country and to honour the decency, respect, and honesty of the nation.
12. Emphasised the importance of attracting Green Jobs to the nation that can give employment to 18.6 million people and raise GDP by $ 1 trillion.
13. “Clock is ticking rapidly” on the Climate Crisis, said VP elect, Kamala Harris emphatically.
My Observations :
Biden-Harris star combination probably spells a new era in the history of American Administration.
In this short interview they gave an insight into their “new book” consisting of (a) new way of doing things ; (b) new experiences to be delivered ; and (c) new systems to be invoked.
The winter this time will start the ‘buds’ shaping and pausing possibly still spring to be a ‘full flower’.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, December 4, 2020 – 9.11 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” I have not made a single decision without Kamala Harris’s input so far ” – Joe Biden.
If your vaccine is 90% effective, our vaccine is 94.5% effective, says Moderna with a challenging look and statement , just a week after Pfizer announced its Vaccine ;
If your vaccine needs -70°C freezers for storage, our vaccine needs just -20°C (normal frigerators) to keep the vaccines safe for upto 30 days , says Moderna ;
If your vaccine had 44000 individuals for experimentation, our vaccine will do with full representative sampling consisting of just 30000 individuals now and more soon, says Moderna.
The announcement sets the bar high for standards of safety and efficacy, and medical interventions.
More than 94.5% efficacy ; more individual participation ; more number of individuals developing antibodies successfully without side effects ; general feeling of trust, passion, and confidence among individuals participating in the trials – will need to be highlighted by the pharma companies engaged in 3rd phase or otherwise of clinical trials now.
First mover advantage has shifted to Moderna from Pfizer at this juncture. Will Astra Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Novaxin, Bharat Biotech and others can surpass the safety and efficacy data already achieved by Moderna and Pfizer with better accuracy will be eagerly watched.
Mid/late December is the critical period in the US when the Political and Pandemic moment of decision will shape their end(s) of journey(s), the moment people will be waiting for. This will also mark the time when trends of the competing pharma companies will get their preliminary results of ‘who each one is ?’ ; ‘how each one will progress ?’ ; and ‘what authority can each leverage in implementing the process ?’.
Here’s a risk. If people will be revelling in joy during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays outside, COVID-19 will not lag behind to revel in disrelishing them instantly.
Vaccine race continues now. Smaller companies are in training for the big race against Moderna and Pfizer.
” Dieu avec nous”
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 – 12.19 p.m. (IST).
Tidbit : ” Another Vaccine just announced. This time by Moderna, 95% effective. For those great ‘historians’, please remember that these great discoveries which will end the China Plague, all took place under my watch”. – President Donald Trump.
” Auf Wiedersehen to COVID-19 – Pfizer’s First Move to Begin Competitive Marketing ” – November 11, 2020.
If Corona’s stellar role steered the public conversation away from the accomplishments of President Donald Trump during his Election campaign and even earlier denying a second term for him, the Vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech announced just 6 days after the Election Day can help steer Joe Biden’s team to victory in controlling the pandemic while reviving the Economy and International travel.
President, Donald Trump, in fact, handed this to the Democrats on a silver platter even if they did not expect it.
Dr Anthony Fauci, Infectious Disease Expert and Leader of the Coronavirus Task Force under Mike Pence/Donald Trump, calls the Pfizer breakthrough as “extraordinary”, “help is on the way”, ” it will be good even if it is 50% effective”, and ” the vaccine will be in use by the end of the year “, while he was pitching into those who promised a cure for COVID-19 by late November or early December citing efficacy and safety as not achievable within weeks. Encouraging words now, nevertheless, for those holding faith and belief in Science, Data, Experiments, and Trials .
Pfizer promises 50 million doses by the end of this year, and about 1.3 billion doses by 2021. There will, however, be a huge sense of relief for people all over the world now.
Pfizer says : ” Submission for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) planned for soon after the required safety milestone is achieved which is currently expected to occur in the third week of November “. Pfizer has spent nearly $ 2 billion of its own for research and development without any Government funding or under the Operation Warp Speed Program.
Pfizer vaccine is a two shot one ; there has been no papers in Journals or reviews by peer researchers ; there is however a safety monitoring authority checking their progress and events. The vaccine is based on ‘mRNA’ technology by injecting a catalyst that can form spike proteins on human cells with ability to detect the virus and destroy it. The only other company following this route of attack is “Moderna” which has received $ 1 billion in funding from the US Government. Other prominent players in the race include Johnson and Johnson ; Astra Zeneca/Oxford Institute ; Nova-Vax ; Sanofi ; GlaxoSmithKline and other small players numbering about 40 candidates in all.
There are billions of individuals in the world requiring vaccination, US alone has 300 million and more.
Two factors need consideration from the management/marketing perspective : (1) Competition ; and (2) Pricing.
1. Competition : Vaccine production and use has reached a stage of marketing warfare now. Emergency Use Authorization to Pfizer will immediately spur others in the race to make claims for their share, fame, and name. FDA will be highly vigilant and stringent in verifying the claims ; supporting evidences ; trial successes ; and absence of side effects. I may be wrong, ‘ that there has not been a success more than 60% (and it is for flu shot) in any vaccine case earlier in history’. This fact may have prompted Dr Anthony Fauci to expect at least 50% success/efficacy for use. Also, the world needs billions of doses that cannot be satisfactorily produced, stored, and delivered by a single Company. Hence, the ventures of 40 or more candidates make the effort justifiable.
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is ‘mRNA’ based ; two shot vaccine ; the second shot administered 3 weeks after the first ; vaccine needs to be stored at -75°C for which freezers are not ready yet ; Pfizer itself is testing storage with dry ice for the benefit of people ; has an excellent record of global supply chain and logistics for delivery. Its deal is valued at $ 39 for a two shot course. Moderna is in the same category. Its deal is valued at $37 per dose. J and J’s deal indicates a price of $10 per dose. It is a one shot vaccine. It has to be administered intravenously. It doesn’t require storage at such freezing levels.
Eli Lilly had already obtained Emergency Use Authorization for its monoclonal antibody treatment from FDA (just yesterday). It is a therapeutic and not a vaccine. There are many in the pipeline from different companies in different places.
Hence, the factor of Competition playing a role in the ‘ marketing opportunity’ of all the vaccines and companies is real. Safety and Efficacy are the set parameters determining the ‘Competitive Value or Strength’ of the vaccine.
Pfizer’s statement that it is 90% effective is a reassurance that one cannot ignore even if it remains to be fully validated yet. Pfizer’s financial strength, staff and scientists strength, and know-how relating a to vaccines and other drugs makes it a big game player. BioNTech of Germany being a partner adds to the clout it can reap in Europe. Other companies mentioned above also have similar strengths and competitiveness.
If a 50% efficacy is set as the main requirement (as Dr Anthony Fauci has referenced in his Observations), then the number of companies achieving the target is expected to be in good numbers. To be in the race for a preferred vaccine manufacturer, distributor, and courier (delivery agent), the companies may resort to ‘Competitive Reactions’ in terms of price adjustments. More the competition, more will be the price cuts or discounts whether during the pandemic period or later. It will be important for the companies to note the fact that the demand for vaccine may be steady initially (as it is a public health issue requiring everyone to be vaccinated) but likely to become volatile later when it will become a choice.
The companies may also offer different prices for different regions depending on their perceptions of values in terms of fame, reputation, and service. There could be some innovations here.
2. Pricing : Pricing is critical in a Global Health Issue like this involving people of different nations ( developed, less developed, marginally efficient, poor ) with people of different financial abilities. Pfizer’s $ 39 for two doses ; Moderna’s $ 37 for two doses when compared with Astra Zeneca’s $ 3 per dose or Johnson and Johnson’s $ 10 for the only shot required are too high for any ordinary individual without a subsidy from the Government.
Companies engage in ‘pricing’ with the following considerations : Raw materials/basic ingredients for vaccine production ; research scientists’ term pay ; clinical trials ; and labour costs in production constitute the variable costs. Cost of equipment/tools ; laboratory infrastructure ; and other administrative costs constitute the fixed costs of vaccine production. Margin to meet the profit objective will be added to arrive at the selling price of the vaccine per unit.
Astra Zeneca/Oxford University has pledged not to profit off the COVID-19 shot during the pandemic. Its pricing indicates cost of manufacturing plus $ 1 billion for clinical trials ( or a 20 % of the cost of manufacturing to the vaccine’s price ). It has established Quality Assurance already. Deals for 100 million doses to UK ; 300 million doses to U.S.A., 400 million doses to EU ; 120 million doses to Japan ; and 100 million doses to China are promised already. It has also built a Global Supply Chain with ability to turn out 3 billion doses of vaccine. Astra Zeneca’s price per dose is just $ 3 to $ 5. It has also promised that low income countries will receive its vaccine on a cost basis ” in perpetuity “. It has a headstart in the marketing warfare already.
Administration of a vaccine is a Public Health Measure in which every individual – male/female ; young/old ; symptomatic/asymptomatic ; whites/blacks – participates. It is also the duty of any Government to contain the pandemic as a welfare measure. Individuals, every human being in the world, may not be willing to pay the same price for vaccination. These aspects make price setting a challenge while prompting companies to think in future in terms of alternate price levels. Moderna has declared that in the pandemic period, pricing considerations will follow traditional dynamics and market forces including vaccine efficacy and Competitive landscape.
It appears that the very emergency nature of the Disease may help the companies make hay as the sun shines ; and the pricing war will likely begin only after the emergency measures are relaxed. This is also quite in tune with what any Product Life Cycle teaches us during the period of growth when prices remain high and affordable for the top and special categories of people. Pfizer and Moderna may rule the roost initially (catering to the prioritised groups supported by concerned institutions and the Government in specially the well developed nations) while the likes of Johnson and Johnson, Astra Zeneca and others in the same pack will eke out their share in a different way in different countries with different population groups.
A clear picture will emerge only after the companies report their safety and efficacy data in public.
“Dieu avec nous “
Wednesday, November 11, 2020 – 2.19 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” It is a great day for science and humanity “.