Coronavirus | One in five Indians may be vaccinated by July 2021, says Harsh Vardhan

Shoppers throng Ranganathan Street in Chennai’s in T. Nagar on October 4, 2020.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The government on Sunday indicated that about 25 crore individuals are likely to be inoculated with a double-dose the COVID-19 vaccine by next July.

States have been asked to prepare a list by the month end of “priority population groups” to get the vaccine. These would include frontline health workers — both government as well as private sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff, ASHA workers, surveillance officers and others involved in the tracing, testing and treatment of patients.

Coronavirus | COVID vaccine likely in early 2021, says Harsh Vardhan

“The Centre is working on plans for building capacities in human resources, training, supervision etc. on a massive scale and roughly estimates to receive and utilise 400-500 million doses covering approximately 20-25 crore people by July 2021,” said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, adding “All this is under various stages of finalisation.”

Dr Vardhan was speaking at his weekly social media interaction, Sunday Samvad.

Coronavirus | Vaccine strategy ready, says Harsh Vardhan

States were also asked to submit details of cold chain facilities and related infrastructure required down to the block level, the Minister said.

There are three prominent vaccine candidates being tested in India, only one of which, Covishield, had reached phase-3 trials. Covishield, developed by Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca, is being tested in India by the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune. SII has committed to producing 200 million doses for India and other low and middle income countries were the vaccine to be proven successful and cleared by regulators.

Coronavirus | India could get COVID-19 vaccine by year-end, says Harsh Vardhan

Though not confirmed, at least 50 million doses of these so far are likely to be available for India at about ₹250 per vaccination.

The other two candidates being tested by Zydus Cadilla and Bharat Biotech are in phase-2 trials.

Normally vaccines take years to be tested and released but governments and regulators worldwide have allowed accelerated procedures to expedite vaccine availability. 

Coronavirus  | Four COVID-19 vaccine candidates may enter clinical trial phase in 3-5 months, says Harsh Vardhan

Dr. Vardhan has earlier said on multiple occasions that a vaccine is likely to be ready by “early next year.”

The government was also keeping an eye on immunity data with regard to COVID-19 disease while finalising plans on vaccine distribution. A committee led by NITI Aayog member V.K. Paul was drawing up the entire process. Vaccine procurement was being done centrally and each consignment would be tracked real time until delivery to ensure it reached those who needed it most, the Minister said. 

“Even if we have multiple vaccines available, they will all be safe and will elicit the requisite immune response against novel coronavirus,” he added.

“People tire out when they have to constantly take precautions. Some of them also give up taking precautions for various reasons. My message to everyone is that we must all diligently take precautions,” Dr Vardhan said. 

India now had the capacity to conduct 1.5 million tests a day with a million tests, on average, conducted during the weekend. There were 101,782 deaths, 9.3 lakh active cases and so far, 6.5 million had tested positive for the virus since March, according to the latest figures as of Sunday.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 12:20:07 AM |

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