Data plays a very significant role in the Covid-19 vaccination process – vaccine procurement, cold chain management, identifying target groups, post-vaccination surveillance, etc, says a study.
Besides, successful data initiative helps develop the entire health sector, said experts at a session titled "Data-driven Vaccination Strategy for a Covid-19 Free World" at the United Nations World Data Forum (UNWDF) 2021 on Tuesday night.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has organised the programme in association with Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Programme, ICT Division and Cabinet Division, Bangladesh; Centre for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC), Argentina; Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh; Southern Voice; Patrick J McGovern Foundation, USA and The City, USA.
The session put up a comparative perspective based on the experiences of a low-income country (Rwanda), a lower-middle-income country (Bangladesh), a high-middle income country (Argentina) and a high-income country (USA).
These four countries have diverse experiences in undertaking vaccination programmes (public and private) in response to the pandemic where innovative data uptake for decision-making plays a critical role.
The session seeks to identify best practices of using innovative data and technology in framing Covid-19 vaccination strategy through a review of experiences at the country levels and explore ways and means for strengthening national data-driven vaccination strategies and opportunities for replication in other countries.
Panellists have said data is also necessary to determine the reasons why some are being infected even after taking vaccines, why some are not interested in receiving the vaccine, and why some prefer one vaccine to another.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, Southern Voice and Distinguished Fellow, CPD, who moderate the session, said the social and economic effects of the pandemic can be known and steps can be taken to address it using the data.
Dr Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chancellor, University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda, said data is important for evidence-based intervention which is required for the national Covid-19 vaccination plan.
"We did not have enough vaccines but we were able to utilise what we had. All the data from carrying the vaccine from the airport to the vaccine centre has been recorded. We received Pfizer. As there was a challenge regarding cold chain we had data from the districts' cold chain system," he added.
Besides, caregivers, the sick and elderly ones have been vaccinated and the information of procurement, supply management and everything was documented, he said further.
Mr Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i, Bangladesh said, data is essential to determine the adverse effects after vaccination.
"We required data including the age, comorbidity and other issues to identify target groups, which we found from NID card, birth certificate and finance ministry. Around 4,500 information centres and 14,000 community clinics have helped us in online registration for vaccination," he added.
Natalia Aquilino, Incidence, Monitoring and Evaluation Programme Director, CIPPEC, Argentina, said data is always crutial to ensure transparency.
Professor Dr Meerdady Sabrina Flora, Additional Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services, said, "We have provided four types of vaccines and to keep a record of which vaccine was given to whom and where should be recorded for future use."