Modi reviews planning for COVID-19 vaccine

Narendra Modi


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the planning and preparations for vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic, as and when a vaccine against the novel coronavirus becomes available.

Leading Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech Monday announced that it has successfully developed Covaxin, India’s first vaccine candidate for COVID-19, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology.

In a statement, the government said the prime minister noted that vaccination of India’s vast and diverse population will need to factor in issues including those related to management of medical supply chains, prioritization of at-risk populations, coordination between different agencies involved in the process, as well as the role of private sector and civil society in the national endeavor.

The first of the four guiding principles that would form the foundation of this national effort would be that vulnerable groups should be identified and prioritized for early vaccination, for example doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, non-medical frontline coronavirus warriors, and vulnerable people among the general population, the statement quoted Modi as saying.

“Second, that vaccination of anyone, anywhere should take place, i.e without imposition of any domicile related restrictions for getting the vaccine, third, that vaccination must be affordable and universal — no person should be left behind; and fourth, that the entire process from production to vaccination should be monitored and supported in real time with the use of technology,” Modi said during the meeting.

Modi also directed officials to evaluate in a broad manner available technology options that can form the backbone of the national endeavor to vaccinate all in the most efficient and timely manner. Prime Minister directed that detailed planning for such large scale vaccination should be undertaken immediately.

India recorded a spike of 18,522 cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 5,66,840, with the number of fatalities inching closer to 17,000-mark, the ministry of health and family welfare said Tuesday.

In a televised address Tuesday, Modi also extended the free public distribution system ration — 5kg free wheat or rice per card-holder indigent family — till November.

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