Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said Covid-19 vaccine procurement is being done centrally and each consignment will be tracked real time until delivery to ensure it reaches people who need it the most.
“Committees are working on understanding the timelines of availability of various vaccines in the country, obtaining commitments from vaccine manufacturers to make available maximum number of doses for India inventory and supply chain management and also on prioritisation of high-risk groups. This is work in progress which will be completed by the time the vaccines are ready to ensure the swift roll-out of the immunisation program,” Vardhan added while interacting with social media users during Sunday Samvaad-4.
During his interaction, he stated that there is a high level committee under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul, which is drawing up the entire process.
The minister also said the Modi government is working tirelessly to ensure that there is a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines when they are ready.
“There is a high-level expert body going into all aspects of vaccines. Our rough estimate and the target would be to receive and utilise 400 to 500 million doses covering approximately 25 crore people by July 2021,” he said.
The Minister assured another respondent that there would be no diversion or black-marketing, “Vaccines will be distributed as per pre-decided priority and in a programmed manner. To ensure transparency and accountability, details of the entire process will be shared in the coming months.” He stressed the need to prioritize health care workers and adults or those have underlying health conditions.
Currently, two vaccine candidates, the indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and the one developed by Zydus Cadila Ltd, are in phase 2 of human clinical trials.
The Pune-based Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate, is also conducting phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials in India.