Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 4
Making a major announcement on the national fight against the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India wouldn’t have to wait long for the rollout of a Covid vaccine and it would be ready in the next few weeks.
Addressing an all-party meeting of Parliament floor leaders on Covid, the PM said as soon as scientists gave the green signal to proceed with Covid vaccine rollout, the inoculation drive would start.
“Experts believe we won’t have to wait long for a Covid vaccine now. It will be ready in the next few weeks. As soon as we get the nod from scientists to proceed, vaccination will start. Priority in vaccination will be given to health workers, frontline workers and elders with pre-existing serious diseases,” the PM said.
He said the Centre was talking to states on vaccine pricing and the same would be determined with public and national good in mind.
The PM also hailed Indian scientific community saying “they are reassured and are brimming with confidence about vaccine progress”.
Listing eight potential Covid vaccine candidates, the PM said though many vaccines had been unveiled, the world is still looking at India for a low-cost efficacious vaccine.“There are eight potential vaccines in different stages of development which are to be manufactured in India. India’s own three candidates are under development,” he said.
The PM also assured the nation of national capacity to scale up production and distribution of the COVID vaccine saying India’s vaccine distribution network was unparalleled in the world and assessment of additional need of cold chains and logistics is being done.
Guaranteeing transparency in vaccination as and when ready, the PM said the government had developed an online platform COVIN which will offer real-time data on COVID vaccine beneficiaries, stocking and utilisation.
In an important appeal to political parties, the PM said they must warn people against potential circulation of myths around COVID vaccine.
“We must guard against any fake news in respect of the COVID vaccine,” the PM said.
He said from the “anxious and fearful times of February and March to the atmosphere of hope in December India has come a long way in the fight against the pandemic”.
“We have done better than many countries by basing our decisions on science. India has a very high daily testing rate, very high national recovery rate and very low mortality rate,” he noted saying India’s resilience in the face of COVID remains unmatched globally.
The PM also cautioned people against any laxity in practising Covid-appropriate behaviour saying “laxity can squander current gains”.