COVID-19: PM Modi reviews India’s vaccination strategy
India’s vaccination strategy: As the number of Coronavirus cases continues to surge across various states in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a virtual meeting with top officials to review the vaccination strategy of the country and efforts needed to make the vaccine accessible to the public.
Taking to Twitter, PM Modi stated that key issues related to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, regulatory approvals and procurement strategy were discussed during the meeting with a number of senior officials, including members of the government’s think-tank NITI Aayog. In addition, he also reviewed other issues including the prioritisation of the population groups in the vaccination strategy, reaching out to healthcare workers, installation of vaccinators and tech platform for rolling out the vaccine among the masses.
Various drug companies are working across the world to develop a potential vaccine to combat the COVID-19 virus. A number of frontrunners are showing encouraging results in their advanced stages of trials after reporting over 90 percent effectiveness.
The Modi government recently issued an official statement, stating that five vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which four are in Phase II-III trials and one is in Phase I-II of clinical trials. The statement also noted that several countries such as Qatar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bahrain, Switzerland, South Korea and Austria have shown keen interest in collaborating with India to develop the vaccine to fight COVID-19 and distribute them among the masses.
During the meeting, PM Modi also reviewed various aspects of emergency use authorisation, manufacture and procurement of medicine. In a bid to administer the vaccine, officials are creating a database of healthcare and frontline workers, augmenting cold chains and procuring needles, syringes among other equipment. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) has consulted with state governments to implement the vaccination process for priority groups in the first phase.
As soon as the results of the Phase III trials will arrive, regulators will swiftly examine the vaccines for authorising emergency use. The government has allotted Rs 900 aid to assist research and development of vaccines. In India, indigenous Coronavirus vaccine Covaxin is entering Phase III human trials. Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla has also confirmed that the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be made available by February 2021 for priority use for healthcare workers and elderly people, while for the general public, it will be available by April 2021.
The Centre has also developed the Covid app aimed at streamlining all necessary data and information as part of India’s vaccine rollout including procurement, distribution, storage and scheduling doses.
Meanwhile, a number of state governments have re-implemented strict restrictions and night curfew measures in a bid to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.