An expert committee which met on Wednesday to consider the logistics and ethical aspects of procuring and administering the Covid-19 vaccine once it becomes available, has decided that procurement should be done centrally.
The meeting was headed by Dr V K Paul of the Niti Aayog, and was co-chaired by Secretary (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare). "The Committee advised all the States not to chart separate pathways of procurement," said a press release issued by the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday.
The creation and implementation of a digital infrastructure to manage the delivery mechanism of the vaccine and ensure focus on last mile delivery, was also discussed.
Broad parameters to select the Covid-19 vaccine candidates for India were also deliberated upon. The principles to decide which population groups would receive the vaccine first were discussed, as well. "The group delved on the procurement mechanisms for Covid-19 vaccine, including both indigenous and international manufacturing," the release read.
The group also talked on money matters; the financial resources which would be needed to procure Covid-19 vaccine, and the various financial options through which it could be done.
"Available options in terms of delivery platforms, cold chain and associated infrastructure for roll out of Covid-19 vaccination were also taken up," the statement said. Focus was also put on equitable and transparent delivery of the vaccine, and issues related to its safety were also discussed.
The strategy to spread awareness and involve the community through transparent information was also one of the points discussed at the meeting.
The option of procuring the Covid-19 vaccine through other countries also remains open. "India’s support to its key neighbors and development partner countries for COVID-19 vaccines was deliberated upon," the release said.
The expert group discussed that India will leverage domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity and will also engage with all international players for early delivery of vaccines not only in India but also in low and middle income countries.