COVID-19 Vaccines May Get Licence In a Few Weeks: Health Ministry
Three COVID-19 vaccine candidates are under active consideration of the DGCI, said the Health Ministry.
In a press conference on Tuesday, 8 December, the Health Ministry announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has interacted with “all vaccine manufactures and scientists” and currently, “there are six vaccine candidates in clinical trial stage in India”, quoted news agency ANI.
“Three COVID-19 vaccine candidates under active consideration of the drug regulator. There is hope that early licencure is possible in respect of all of them or any one of them,” said Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, quoted ANI.
“Some of the vaccine candidates may get licenced in the next few weeks”, said Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Ministry as quoted by ANI.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) became the first Indian company to seek emergency use authorisation for the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Two other pharmaceutical firms, US-based Pfizer, and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, which has indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin, has also sought approval for emergency use from DCGI.
The Central government, in collaboration with states and union territories, have begun “preparatory activities for the rollout of the vaccine”, said the Health Ministry according to ANI.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said. “Vaccination cannot just be a state’s or the Centre’s responsibility, it has to be people’s participation.”
“India’s regulatory framework has a specific provision for the grant of emergency use authorisation,” said Bhushan in the press conference on 8 December.
NEGVAC Recommendations Of Priority Groups For Vaccine
The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC) was formed in August this year to provide guidance on combatting COVID19. The group offers support on “prioritisation of population groups, procurement and inventory management, vaccine selection and vaccine delivery and tracking mechanism”, said the Health Ministry, quoted ANI.
The Ministry stated in the press conference that the expert group recommended to prioritise frontline healthcare providers and workers, state and central police personnel, armed forces, home guards, civil defence and disaster management volunteers, municipal workers and adults over 50 years of age.
“The current cold chain is capable of storing an additional quantity of COVID19 vaccine required for the first three crore health workers and frontline workers,” said Bhushan. He added that the process of database collection of health workers have started across the country. “The data is being uploaded on CO-WIN software. This data will be verified," he said.
Impact On Health Services to Be Minimal: Health Ministry
The Health Ministry also added that the COVID-19 vaccination drive “must have minimal impact on routine health services, including routine immunisation. There are around 2.39 lakh vaccinators (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife-ANM) across the country. Only 1.54 lakh ANMs to be used for COVID-19 vaccination.”
The Secretary of the Health Ministry was quoted by ANI as saying, “Once we get a green signal from our scientists, we'll launch massive production of the vaccine. We've made all the preparations and drawn an outline to ramp up production of vaccine and to make it available to each and every person in shortest possible time.”
“Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal and Delhi contribute to 54% of the total active cases in the country,” Bhushan said, quoted ANI.
However, “the COVID-19 situation in Delhi is stabilising now,” said Dr VK Paul, quoted ANI.
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