COVID-19 vaccine to be a reality soon; healthcare workers, elderly to get priority in India: Harsh Vardhan
Live Mint , Nov 19, 2020
COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be a reality soon. Several candidates in the global coronavirus vaccine race has inched closer to the regulatory approval in the last few weeks. "Coronavirus vaccine will be available in the next few months and it is estimated that 400-500 million doses will be made available for 25-30 crore people by July-August," said Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday. Vardhan was addressing a webinar organised by the FICCI FLO on 'The Shifting Healthcare Paradigm During and Post-Covid',
Ensuring universal access to a 'safe and effective' vaccine against novel coronavirus will be a challenge. The central government has started preparing blueprint to roll out coronavirus vaccine in the country, once it is available.
"It is natural the vaccine distribution would have to be prioritised. As you know the healthcare workers who are corona warriors they will be prioritised, then people who are above 65 years of age they have been prioritised, then those from 50-65 years of age have been prioritised," Vardhan said.
"Then those below 50 years who have other diseases. It is all being decided by experts with a scientific point of view. We have made a very detailed, meticulous plan on this," he mentioned.
"What we would have to do in March-April next year, we have started planning for it from now only," Vardhan added.
The coronavirus vaccine will be distributed under a special COVID-19 inoculation programme, using the processes, technology and network of the existing Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), official sources had said earlier. The central government has already started the process of identifying around 30 crore priority beneficiaries.
Five vaccine candidates are at the different stages of trials in India. Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Covishield, developed by the University of Oxford have already started the phase III clinical trial. ZyCoV-D by Zydus Cadila is in the phase II clinical trial in the country. Dr Reddy's Laboratories will soon start phase II clinical trials of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India.
How COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in India:
The health ministry's existing digital platform eVIN for the UIP will be used for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and delivery. An SMS will be sent to the recipients mentioning time, date and venue to get the shots. Each person in the immunisation list would be linked with their Aadhaar cards to avoid duplication and to track beneficiaries. However, in case a person does not have an aadhaar card, a government photo identity proof can be used, sources said.
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