GoM mulls strategy for COVID vaccine availability, distribution by July 2021

Published: 13 October, 2020 15:30 IST | ANI | Mumbai

It was stated that hopefully by July 2021, 400 to 500 million doses of the vaccine will be made available for 20-25 crore people in India

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

Group of ministers (GoM), headed by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, met on Tuesday to discuss the current national and international scenario of SARS-CoV2 virus and strategies that are to be adopted for availability and distribution of vaccines in the coming days. The 21st GoM meeting was held today, after over a month's gap as the last meeting had taken place on August 30.

It was stated that hopefully by July 2021, 400 to 500 million doses of the vaccine will be made available for 20-25 crore people in India. "Keeping a close pace with the potential availability of vaccine a plan of action on which sections are to be given priority has been discussed. Importantly, it would be monitored through a scientific approach," Dr Harsh Vardhan told ANI about the strategy being discussed on vaccine distribution.

"For this, strategies that have been adopted by the world be it CDC, US are being studied continuously. Digital platforms are also being prepared for the same," the Health Minister added. The GoM was informed about stage by stage preparation of the vaccine (from cold chain equipment to nonvaccine equipment).

"Approximately 200 vaccine candidates are being tried out globally. Around 151 candidates are at the pre-clinical trial phase and around 42 are at the clinical trial phase. Globally there are nine vaccine candidates who are at clinical trial phase II & III (slightly advance stages) among which three are from India," said the Minister. It is expected that vaccine in the country may be available from more than one source. Expert groups are formulating strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution of the vaccine in the country.

Currently COVID-19 recovery rate in India is near 87 percent while the fatality rate is at 1.53 percent. More than one million samples are being tested daily for detecting the infection in the country in the 1,927 laboratories, including private and government. Keeping the upcoming festive and winter season in mind, Vardhan further advised people by saying, "As winter and festive seasons are approaching the entire country should strictly follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour such as wearing mask, observing social distancing and maintaining respiratory hygiene".

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State (MoS) Home, Nityanand Rai, MoS Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul, and expert teams for strategy formulation were among others were present in the meeting today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had formed the GoM for keeping the rising COVID-19 pandemic threat in mind in February this year.

Meanwhile, with a spike of 55,342 new cases and 706 deaths in the last 24 hours, India's COVID-19 count reached 71,75,881 today, as per the Union Health Ministry. This includes 8,38,729 active cases and 62,27,296 cured and discharged or migrated cases and 1,09,856 deaths.

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