Vaccine prepared in a couple of weeks: Modi

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 4

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said a Covid-19 vaccine was expected to be available in the next few weeks. The inoculation drive, he said, would begin as soon as scientists granted the necessary approvals.

“Experts believe we will not have to wait long now to get a Covid vaccine. It will be ready in the next few weeks. As soon as we get a green signal from the scientists, the vaccination drive will start. The Centre is working with states to determine priority groups for vaccination,” the PM said. Around 1 crore health workers, 2 crore frontline workers and 26 crore people above 50 years with co-morbidities are likely to get priority in vaccination.

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He was speaking at a meeting of Parliament floor leaders of various political parties, including the Congress, TMC, NCP, DMK, YSRCP, JDU, BJD, Shiv Sena, TRS, BSP, SP and AIADMK among others. Thirteen Opposition leaders spoke during the meeting.

Pricing would be a key issue of discussion with states, the PM said noting that national good would be the top goal during price fixation.

Hailing Indian scientists, who, he said, were “reassured and brimming with confidence about vaccine progress”, the PM noted that the world was watching India to deliver a low-cost, efficacious vaccine even though some global players had unveiled their candidates.

Listing eight potential Covid vaccine candidates to be manufactured in India, the PM said, “There are eight potential vaccines in different stages of development which are to be made in India. These include India’s own three candidates.” The reference was to two indigenous Covid vaccines (Bharat Biotech-ICMR and Zydus Cadila) and the Oxford University vaccine being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India that plans to apply for emergency use authorisation in two weeks.

On distribution networks, the PM assured the nation of ample national capacity for scale-up saying India’s immunisation network was unparalleled in the world and assessment of additional need of cold chains and logistics was underway. He guaranteed transparency in vaccination rollout saying the government had developed a digital platform, Covid-19 Vaccine Information Network (Co-WIN), to provide real-time information on beneficiaries, stockpiles and distribution.

Oppn at all-party meet

  • Congress: Ensure affordable vaccine and prepare to monitor vaccine’s long-term effects
  • NCP: Centre’s Covid response good, but slowdown worrying
  • TMC: States will need monetary assistance for vaccination drive
  • BJD, YSRCP & SP: Provide the vaccine free to the poor and at
  • low rates to the rest of citizens
  • TRS: How will you provide free vaccine, as promised in polls?
  • Samajwadi Party: Need for enhanced health budget

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