India to have COVID vaccine by early next year, says Harsh Vardhan

Several sources are likely to supply the shot; focus now is on formulating strategy for distribution, says Minister

Vardhan had earlier said the government was working in collaboration with the state governments to collect data so as to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready. Photo: PTI

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told a group of ministers on Tuesday (October 13) that India was likely to have a vaccine against COVID-19 by early next year and that it would possibly come from several sources, ANI reported.

“We’re expecting that early next year we should have vaccines in the country from, maybe, more than one source. Our expert groups are formulating strategies to plan how to roll out the distribution of the vaccine in the country,” the health minister said.

Vardhan had earlier said the government was working in collaboration with the state governments to collect data so as to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready. “Our utmost priority is how to ensure a vaccine for each and everybody in the country,” he had said.

Related news: Govt will buy 500 mn doses of COVID vaccine, cover 25 Cr people: Vardhan

“As you know, we have about 40 vaccine candidates now in some stages of clinical trials, and 10 of them are in the phase three trials, which are the late-stage clinical trials, which will tell us about both the efficacy and the safety,” he said.

In the latest episode of weekly Sunday Samwad, the Health Minister informed the citizens about the key factors that would be taken into account to ascertain the priority groups. “Prioritization of groups to be vaccinated will be based on key considerations, first is occupational hazard at the risk of exposure to the infection and second is the risk of developing severe disease and increased mortality,” he said.

On the number of vaccines that will be available, the Health Minister on Sunday said that given the population size of the country, India may have to collaborate with more than one vaccine manufacturer to ensure that everyone is able to access it. “All COVID-19 vaccines currently in India are in the phases 1, 2 or 3 of trials with results awaited. Adequate safety and efficacy data is required for emergency use authorization vaccine approval for ensuring patient safety. Further course of action will be based on data generated,” he said.

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