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Some covid-19 vaccine candidates which are in different stages of clinical trial may get licensed in the next few weeks, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Tuesday.

Five of the vaccine candidates, namely Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech, ZyCoV-D manufactured by Zydus Cadila, Sputnik V which is being manufactured by Dr. Reddy's Laboratories and NVX-CoV2373 which is another vaccine by SII are in various stages of Clinical Trial.

“Out of these, Covishield and Covaxin have also applied for Emergency Use Authorization. This apart, a Recombinant Protein Antigen based vaccine by Biological E Ltd, mRNA based HGCO 19 vaccine by Genova, Pune; and an Inactivated rabies vector platform vaccine by Bharat Biotech are in various stages of pre-clinical trial. Vaccine requires 2-3 doses in intervals of 3 to 4 weeks," said the Health Secretary. He, however, also cautioned that precautions must be undertaken even after vaccination.

The government is currently doing the Line-listing of Prioritized Population Groups for covid- 19 Vaccination.

“Every single Indian who needs to be vaccinated will be vaccinated. Prioritized Population Groups include about 1 crore Healthcare Workers in both Government and Private Healthcare facilities,"’said Bhushan.

“About 2 crore Frontline Workers (including personnel from state and central police department, armed forces, home guard, civil defence organizations, disaster management volunteers and municipal workers) and also about 27 crore people in the Prioritized Age Group, which includes those aged above 50 years & those with co-morbidities," he said.

Speaking about the steps taken by the Union Government for rolling out covid-19 vaccine, Bhushan said, "When such a huge vaccination drive is taken up, it becomes necessary to have institutional mechanisms at the level of States, Districts and Blocks that will inspect and supervise the entire process.

Preparatory activities for roll-out of covid-19 vaccine are being carried by Central Government in collaboration with States/UTs.

The government said that a new digital platform for covid-19 Vaccination Delivery called 'CO-WIN' is being used for this purpose. This user friendly mobile app for recording vaccine data is working as a beneficiary management platform having various modules. In the process of forming database of Healthcare Workers, which is in an advanced stage across all States/UTs, data is presently being uploaded on the Co-WIN platform, Rajesh Bhushan said.

The government is also strengthening of Cold Chain Infrastructure. Current cold chain system, consisting of 85,634 equipment for storage of vaccine at about 28,947 cold chain points across the country, is capable of storing additional quantity of Covid-19 vaccine required for the first 3 Crore, i.e., Health Care Workers and Front Line Workers,"’said Bhushan.

The Health Ministry in consultation with States/UTs has assessed the additional requirement for Cold Chain storage (Walk in Coolers, Walk in Freezers, Deep Freezers, Ice lined refrigerators etc.). Additional supplies would be available to States/UTs beginning December 10, 2020.

Around 2.39 lakh vaccinators (Auxiliary nurse midwives) across India will provide vaccination under Universal Immunization Programmes(UIP), the government said.

“So as not to disturb the ongoing UIPs, only 1.54 lakh ANMs will be used for covid-19 Vaccination. Additional vaccinators for the purpose are being arranged in collaboration with States/UTs.

This apart, there has to be communication strategy on vaccine safety, effectiveness etc," said Bhushan.

“A transparent, effective and sustained communication for COVID vaccination is crucial for educating people and explaining the implementation plan to them. It also will prepare them to accept some adverse effects as happens with all vaccines as well as address doubts and address challenges like disinformation campaigns, rumours and anti-vaccine lobby," he said .

The total number of covid-19 cases reached 97,10,037 and the toll mounted to 1,42,103 on Tuesday. The total active cases of the country are 3,83,866 and comprise (3.96%) of the total cases.

Ten States/UTs have contributed 72.50% of the new cases, the union health ministry. Kerala has reported 3,272 cases in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra recorded 3,075 new cases while West Bengal has registered 2,214 new cases yesterday. At least 75.58% of the 385 case fatalities that reported in the past 24 hours are from Ten States/UTs. Over 16.36% of new fatalities reported are from Delhi which reported 63 deaths. West Bengal also saw a fatality count of 48 while Maharashtra reported 40 new deaths.

The new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours have fallen below 27,000 (26,567) for the first time after nearly 5 months. The new cases were 26,506 last on 10th July, 2020, the union health ministry said.

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