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Gitanjali Rao, TIME magazine’s first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’, said that she is brainstorming about solutions for the effective coronavirus vaccine distribution to address a pressing challenge posed by the pandemic, and has set her sights on preventing future pandemics.

“I definitely do want to look at the pandemic. The next biggest problem we’re going to face is vaccine distribution and prioritisation. So I’m looking at my potential data and analytics approach towards that,” 15-year-old Indian-American scientist Gitanjali Rao told news agency PTI in an interview.

As the world grapples with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, Gitanjali Rao said that she was focussed on using technological tools to offer solutions for vaccine distribution.

“But I think the next biggest problem that I’ll probably look towards solving is preventing future pandemics from happening because I think it’s safe to assume that this isn’t the last one and we probably will have another one before 100 years,” she said.

Gitanjali Rao further said that she is still at a “brainstorming and observing” phase but is looking at the whole idea of vaccine distribution and how widespread it needs to be.

“Also, how important it is because everybody needs to receive this vaccine. So I’m looking at how we can use predictive analytics and data models in order to create a plan of how vaccine distribution will roll out,” Gitanjali Rao told PTI.

Gitanjali Rao was named by TIME magazine this month as the first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’ for her “astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying”. She was selected among over 5,000 nominees for the honour.

TIME had said in its profile that “exceptional leadership” is what made the “brilliant” Rao stand out for the honour.

Rao said that she is interested in working on several things in the future and wants to look at genetic research with product design involved.

“Hopefully whatever I’m doing, I’m changing the world for the better,” she said.

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