- 500 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine will be prepared by July 2021, covering 25 crore Indians
- AstraZeneca’s Covidsheild is undergoing Phase-3 trials at SII, Pune
- State governments asked to prepare a list of frontline health workers to be given preference for the vaccine
THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: On October 4, Union Health Minister Dr Vardhan estimated that about 25 crore Indians are likely to receive immunisation against COVID-19 by July 2021.
Dr Harsh Vardhan communicated through his weekly interaction programme that the Centre would soon require a list of “priority population groups” to receive the vaccine. The ‘priority list’ must give preference to the frontline health workers directly dealing with patients, exposing themselves to a higher risk of infection. The list constitutes of both governments as well as private-sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff, ASHA workers and surveillance officers involved in testing and treatment of patients.
The Union Health Ministry has also directed the states to submit information regarding cold chain facilities for the distribution of the vaccine among public healthcare facilities.
“The Centre is working on plans for building capacities in human resources, training, supervision etc. on a massive scale and roughly estimate to receive and utilise 400-500 million doses covering approximately 20-25 crore people by July 2021,” said Dr Vardhan, speaking at Sunday Samwaad.
A committee chaired by NITI Aayog member V K Paul has been constituted to chart out a detailed procedure of vaccine distribution and a fool-proof delivery mechanism. The committee is in charge of devising a centralised scheme of vaccine procurement along with real-time tracking of each consignment.
Till now, the vaccine candidate likely to get through the clinical tests first is Covishield, currently undergoing its last-stage trials. Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune that has successfully producing vaccine doses for low-income countries is now responsible for conducting clinical trials of Covishield. Researchers from Oxford University, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, have developed this potential vaccine. Whereas, two other vaccine candidates being tested by Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadilla are still in their Phase-II trials.
Although it typically takes a few years to approve a vaccine, many countries have now expedited the process as the pandemic spreads its arms further.
“Even if we have multiple vaccines available, they will all be safe and will elicit the requisite immune response against novel coronavirus,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, addressing people’s concerns.
India can now guarantee its capacity to conduct 1.5 million tests a day. So far, there have been 101,782 deaths and 6.5 million people have tested positive for the virus, as of October 4.