Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for full preparedness to ensure speedy access to COVID-19 vaccines for every citizen.
Chairing a meeting to review the pandemic situation in the country, Mr. Modi directed that every step in the logistics, delivery and administration of the vaccine should be put in place rigorously and it must include advanced planning of cold storage chains, distribution network, monitoring mechanism, advance assessment and preparation of ancillary equipment such as vials and syringes, according to a release issued by the government.
The Prime Minister’s instructions came on a day India reported an active caseload of below 8 lakh for the first time after one-and-a-half months.
“The positive cases are 7,95,087 while 70,816 patients have recovered and been discharged in the last 24 hours whereas the new confirmed cases are 62,212. Maharashtra contributes more than 13,000 to the single day recoveries followed by Karnataka with more than 8,000. 837 case fatalities have been reported in the past 24 hours. Of these, nearly 82% are concentrated in 10 States/UTs with Maharashtra reporting the maximum — 306,’’ said the Health Ministry.
The PM, on Saturday, reviewed the pandemic situation and the preparedness of vaccine delivery, distribution and administration at a meeting attended by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and officials.
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The meeting noted that three vaccines are at advanced stages of development in India, of which two are in Phase II and one is in Phase-III.
“Indian scientists and research teams are collaborating and strengthening the research capacities in neighbouring countries viz., Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal and Sri Lanka. There are further requests from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar and Bhutan for clinical trials in their countries. To help the global community, the Prime Minister further directed that we should not limit our efforts to our immediate neighbourhood but also reach out to the entire world in providing vaccines, medicines and IT platforms for the vaccine delivery system,’’ said the release.
It said the national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) in consultation with State governments and all stakeholders has presented a detailed blueprint of vaccine storage, distribution and administration. The Expert Group in consultation with the States is working actively on vaccine prioritisation and distribution.
The PM has further directed that India should make use of experience of successful conduct of elections and disaster management.
“The Prime Minister said that in a similar manner vaccine delivery and administration systems should be put in place. This should involve the participation of States/UTs/district level functionaries, civil society organisations, volunteers, citizens and experts from all necessary domains. The entire process should have a strong IT backbone and the system should be designed in such a manner as to have a lasting value to our healthcare system.’’
Two pan-India studies on the Genome of SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) conducted by the ICMR and the Bio-Technology (DBT) have now suggested that the virus is genetically stable and there is no major mutation.
The Prime Minister also cautioned against complacency in efforts to contain the pandemic. He insisted on continued social distancing, appropriate behaviour such as wearing the mask, regularly washing hands and sanitation etc. especially in the wake of the upcoming festival season.