Health Ministry Considering Giving Priority to Health Workers, High-Risk People for COVID-19 Vaccine
Days after the Assam government asked the Centre to administer the Coronavirus vaccine in Stage 2 trials to frontline health workers, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccination is being considered particularly for senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings.
“This shall be done after a consensus has been reached,” Harsh Vardhan said.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had
suggested that the vaccine can be administered to health workers to begin with, and that can, in turn, be also counted as Stage 3 trials.
While addressing his social media followers on the ‘Sunday Samvad’ platform, Harsh Vardhan said that even if no date has been fixed for the vaccine launch, it may be ready by the first quarter of 2021. He said that NITI Aayog is drawing up a detailed strategy on how to immunize the majority of the population.
He assured the vaccine will be first made available to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity.
“Issues like vaccine security, cost, equity, cold-chain requirements, production timelines etc., are also been discussed intensely,” he said. Elaborating on the vaccine candidates and their development in India, he said that the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT), as well as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has been pro-active in responding to the emerging situation to support the advancement of vaccine candidates.
India is actively partnering with Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and trials at different phases are ongoing with respect to several vaccines in Indian laboratories (private or public) and hospitals, the minister said.
India’s COVID-19 case tally on Monday crossed the 48-lakh mark with a spike of 92,071 new cases and 1,136 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.
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