Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told floor leaders of around 19 political parties represented in Parliament that a vaccine against COVID-19 could be available for roll out in the next few weeks. He said this during his closing remarks to the all-party meeting where nearly 30 leaders of various parties were present.
“Experts have assessed that it won’t be too long before a vaccine against Corona is available and that it could a matter of weeks for that to happen,” Mr. Modi said. “As soon as scientists green light a vaccine the distribution will start,” he said.
The government, he said, had set up a national experts group of scientists, Central and State government officials for mapping the vaccination programme, which would likely take advantage of India’s large and experienced vaccination network from its universal immunisation programme. “Cold chain and other logistics will be boosted taking inputs from State governments,” he said. Frontline health workers and those with co-morbidities would be first in line for the vaccine, Mr. Modi said.
The pricing of the vaccine would be “according to the imperatives of public health” and in consultation with State governments, he added.
He said his visits to vaccine development and manufacturing facilities in Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad and his talks with company officials there showed that there was a high level of confidence in the possibility of a vaccine being out for use soon. Due to the world’s requirements for an effective and inexpensive vaccine, India was very much in the spotlight, said the Prime Minister adding that eight vaccine candidates were being manufactured in India and three were being developed indigenously.
“As we are on the cusp of getting a vaccine we should not now relapse in to behaviour that may see another spurt in the disease. India’s experience in dealing with the Coronavirus despite not having the health infrastructure of developed countries is a sign of the country’s determination and adoption of a scientific approach to dealing with the disease. This must continue,” he said.