Home >News >India >Single central procurement pathway for vaccines against covid-19: Health ministry
Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty, Union Health Ministry
Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty, Union Health Ministry

Single central procurement pathway for vaccines against covid-19: Health ministry

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for covid-19 in its first meeting on Wednesday said that the States have been advised not to chart separate pathways of procurement

There will be a single central procurement pathway for vaccines against covid-19 across India, the union health ministry said on Wednesday.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for covid-19 in its first meeting on Wednesday said that the States have been advised not to chart separate pathways of procurement.

The meeting was chaired by Dr V K Paul, Member Niti Aayog along with Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as co-Chair.

India will leverage domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity and will also engage with all international players for early delivery of vaccines not only in India but also in low and middle income countries, the committee said.

India will also support its key neighbors and development partner countries for covid-19 vaccines, it added.

The expert group deliberated on conceptualization and implementation mechanisms for creation of a digital infrastructure for inventory management and delivery mechanism of the vaccine including tracking of vaccination process with particular focus on last mile delivery.

They discussed on broad parameters guiding the selection of covid-19 vaccine candidates for the country and sought inputs from Standing Technical Sub-Committee of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).

The group delved on the procurement mechanisms for covid-19 vaccine, including both indigenous and international manufacturing along with guiding principles for prioritization of population groups for vaccination, the union health ministry said in a statement.

The expert group also discussed on the financial resources required for procurement of covid-19 vaccine and various options of financing the same. Available options in terms of delivery platforms, cold chain and associated infrastructure for roll out of covid-19 vaccination were also taken up. Further, strategy and follow-up action on all possible scenarios to ensure equitable and transparent delivery of vaccine was deliberated upon.

“Issues related to vaccine safety and surveillance were taken up and strategy for community involvement through transparent information and awareness creation were discussed," the union health ministry said.

The World Health Organization this week has said that for the vaccines alone, over $100 billion dollars will be needed globally.

Indian pharmaceutical companies are aggressively involved in covid-19 vaccine development. Bharat Biotech’s inactivated vaccine candidate, co-developed with the National Institute of Virology (NIV), is among the three candidates currently undergoing human trials in India.

The other Indian candidate is Zydus Cadila Ltd’s DNA plasmid vaccine, while Serum Institute of India is currently undertaking a phase 3 clinical trial of Astrazeneca plc and University of Oxford’s jointly-developed adenovirus-based covid-19 vaccine.

Serum Institute of India last week received a $150 million funding from the The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance for two promising vaccines by University of Oxford and Novavax under the condition that the Pune-based firm prices the two vaccines at a maximum of $3 per dose.

Under the agreement, the company will to produce at scale up to 100 million doses for distribution to India and other countries as early as the first half of 2021 after gaining regulatory approval and WHO’s pre-qualification.

Serum Institute had in June signed a pact to provide a billion doses of the Oxford vaccine to low- and middle-income countries, and last week also signed a pact with Novovax to produce minimum of 1 billion doses of its candidate vaccine NVX‑CoV2373 for India and other low- and middle-income countries.

Meanwhile, the covid-19 burden continues to increase in India with over 63000 cases recorded in last 24 hours. Globally, as the total tally has already crossed 20 million, tally of covid-19 cases in India reached 23,34,279 on Wednesday.

In parallel, India on Wednesday also recorded highest ever recoveries 56,110 in the last 24 hours. In the first week of July the daily average recovered cases were at 15000 which jumped to more than 50000 in the first week of August.

The total recoveries have crossed the 16 lakh mark to 16,39,599 taking the Recovery Rate to 70.38%.

The actual case load of the country is the active cases (6,43,948) which is 27.64% of the total positive cases.

India did 33,449 covid-19 tests the last 24 hours taking the cumulative tests to more than 2.6 crore. The tests per million has jumped to 18,852.

Leroy Leo contributed to this story

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