Coronavirus | Expert panel to discuss issues related to vaccine procurement

The Health Ministry said on Tuesday that an expert committee on vaccine administration, under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog member V.K. Paul, will meet on August 12 to consider the logistics and ethical aspects of procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccine.

The committee would engage with all stakeholders, including State governments and vaccine manufacturers, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference. This was in reply to a question about India’s response to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s announcement that his country had successfully registered its coronavirus vaccine.


Mr. Bhushan maintained that “questions about India government procuring vaccine from Russia cannot be answered at this stage.” He said three proposed vaccine candidates were currently under trial in India.

Advising State governments not to be “overawed” by the number of positive cases every day, Mr. Bhushan said the Health Ministry had now told various stakeholders that the country had to work towards achieving less than one per cent COVID-fatality rate.

“Currently less than 1% of hospitalised people are on ventilators, less than 3% are on oxygen and less than 4% of the active cases are in ICU. A committee under the Health Ministry is currently formulating guidelines on the treatment and protocol for those experiencing medical complications after having recovered from COVID-19. This is after cases of respiratory problems and heart ailments coming to light over time after COVID patients were discharged. The guidance note will be made available soon,” he said.

Also read | India’s single-day count of COVID-19 cases more than that of US, Brazil in past 7 days: WHO data

Speaking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction on Tuesday with the Chief Ministers of ten States that were showing an increasing COVID-19 trend, he said: “States like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu , Andhra, Telangana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar participated in the discussion and they were told that they make up for 80% of the COVID cases currently and 81 % of the fatalities due to the virus. The States have been told that containment, contact tracing and surveillance are the most effective tools. They have also been advised that close contacts of new positive cases should be tracked and tested in 72 hours. Gujarat, Telangana, Bihar, U.P. and West Bengal have been told to urgently ramp up testing.

Also read | COVID-19 recovery rate nears 70%, case fatality rate falls below 2%: Health Ministry

The Health Ministry added that India was currently doing 18320 COVID tests per million. “We are doing more than four times the ideal number set by the World Health Organisation, with Goa, Delhi and Tamil Nadu testing the most. For the first time in the country, COVID-19 fatality rate has fallen below 2% and is currently at 1.99%,” said Mr. Bhushan.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 6:51:20 AM |

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