Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet, reassured the nation that strong measures are being put into place in order to solidify the vaccine distribution process in due course.
The PM, on Friday held a meeting to review the country's vaccination strategy in which important issues related to progress of COVID-19 vaccine development, regulatory approvals and procurement were discussed.
"Reviewed various issues like prioritisation of population groups, reaching out to HCWs (health care workers), cold-chain Infrastructure augmentation, adding vaccinators and tech platform for vaccine roll-out," he said.
In fact, a number of COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in advanced phases of trial.
On Friday, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij was administered a trial dose of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' at a hospital in Ambala. He had offered to be the first volunteer for the third phase trial of Covaxin, which started in the state today.
Who will get COVID-19 vaccine first? 'Meticulous plan in place,' says Harsh Vardhan
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is not mincing words when it comes to the allocation and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the minister, everything is being decided by experts with a scientific point of view.
'We have made a very detailed meticulous plan on this,' he said. Addressing the FICCI FLO's National Webinar on 'The Shifting Healthcare Paradigm During and Post-COVID', Vardhan said coronavirus vaccine will be available in a couple of months and it is estimated that by July-August, 400-500 million vaccine doses will be made available for 25-30 crore people.
'What we would have to do in March-April next year, we have started planning for it from now only,' Vardhan said.
The minister said, 'We have also initiated an integrated response system against COVID-19 and will also host clinical trials for all the major vaccines. About 20 vaccines are in different stages of development.'
He said about 90-99% tackling of COVID-19 is only through protecting and motivating others.
'I am confident that the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in the next three-four months,' he said.
'It is natural that the vaccine distribution would have to be prioritised,” he said.
Here’s how the vaccine (when we do get one) will be distributed:
Healthcare workers and corona warriors will be prioritised
Then, people who are above 65 years of age
Then, people from 50-65 years of age
Then, those below 50 years who have other diseases
Then, the general public
'You can protect yourself from this deadly virus with small precautions like wearing a good quality mask properly, maintaining social distance and taking care of hand-hygiene,' Vardhan noted.
What are the vaccines currently in the news?
Phase-3 trial of the Oxford vaccine of the Serum Institute is almost near completion
Phase-3 clinical trial of the indigenously-developed vaccine candidate of the Bharat Biotech has begun
Phase-3 clinical trial of the vaccine developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has already begun.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories will also soon start the combined phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in India.
Biological E Limited has started early phase 1 and 2 human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have said their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Moderna has said the independent National Institutes of Health-appointed Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273, its vaccine candidate against COVID-19, found it to have an efficacy of 94.5%
What are the challenges involved in storing and deploying these vaccines?
Logistical challenges that include cold chain systems for proper transportation and storage during last mile delivery.
Adequate cold chain facilities to protect the vaccine against warmer temperatures.
Storage of vaccines as several vaccine candidates have varying requirements. For example, the Oxford vaccine developed by SII requires storage at 2-8 degree celsius. Pfizer vaccine requires storage at -70 degree celsius whereas Sputnik V has to be stored at temperature lower than -18 degree celsius during transportation.
With inputs from PTI and News18