Amid rising coronavirus COVID-19 cases in India, the central government is hopeful that 400 to 500 million doses of the vaccine will be available in the country in 2021. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan chaired a meeting of group of ministers on Tuesday in Delhi to hold discussions over the scenario of coronavirus vaccines, both Indian as well as international.
“Keeping a close pace with the potential availability of vaccine a plan of action on which sections are to be given priority has been discussed. Importantly, it would be monitored through a scientific approach,” Harsh Vardhan told ANI.
“For this, strategies that have been adopted by the world be it Centre for Disease Control, the United States are being studied continuously. Digital platforms are also being prepared for the same,” he added.
It is to be noted that the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, headed by Dr VK Paul, has been tasked by the Centre to chalk out strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution of the vaccine in the country. The high-level panel includes AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria, representatives of the ministries of external affairs, biotechnology, information technology, the Director General of Health services, India’s Aids Research Institute, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and also representatives from states.
Dr VK Paul presented a “comprehensive study on the priority sections of the population that would have initial access to the vaccine drawing upon recommendations of CDC, USA and the WHO,” during the meeting on Tuesday, according to a statement released by ministry of health and family welfare.
“The eVIN network which can track the latest vaccine stock position, temperature at storage facility, geo-tag health centres, and maintain facility level dashboard is being repurposed for the delivery of COVID vaccine,” the ministry added.
According to Paul, the vaccine will be first distributed among those who need it the most and the listing of healthcare workers will be completed by the end of October or early November.
A total of three vaccine candidates are currently at different stages of clinical trial in India. Covaxin, which is being developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited along with Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, was first indigenous vaccine candidate to tackle COVID-19. Covaxin is currently in Phase II human trials in the country.`