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Will launch massive production of Covid vaccine once scientists give nod: Govt

Secretary Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Rajesh Bhushan addresses a press conference in New Delhi (PTI)Premium
Secretary Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Rajesh Bhushan addresses a press conference in New Delhi (PTI)

  • The health ministry secretary also informed that some of the vaccine candidates may get licensed in the next few weeks
  • Govt also informed that India’s regulatory framework has a specific provision for grant of emergency use authorisation of Covid-19 vaccines

The health ministry on Tuesday said that the government is ready to launch a massive production of Covid-19 vaccine once the scientists and researchers in the country give a nod.

During a press briefing, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Health Ministry said, "We've has made all the preparations and drawn an outline to ramp up production of vaccine and to make it available to each and every person in shortest possible time."

The ministry also added that Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have applied to Emergency Use Approval in the past few days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has interacted with all vaccine manufactures and scientists earlier this month. He also visited three vaccine manufacturing companies located in Ahmedabad, Pune and Hyderabad.

The health ministry secretary also informed that some of the vaccine candidates may get licensed in the next few weeks. "Six vaccine candidates are currently in clinical trial stage in India," Bhushan added.

Bhushan also informed that India’s regulatory framework has a specific provision for grant of emergency use authorisation of Covid-19 vaccines.

Speaking about the vaccine distribution, the ministry also highlighted the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC) panel's prioritisation of the population groups.

"NEGVAC's recommendation on prioritised population groups are healthcare providers and workers in healthcare setting, personnel from state and central police, armed forces, home guards, civil defence and disaster management volunteers and municipal workers and persons above 50 years," the Health ministry informed.

"Process of collecting database of health are workers has started across all States and UTs and Central Ministries. This data is being uploaded on CO-WIN software and will be verified," Bhushan added.

On large-scale distribution of the vaccine, the ministry told reporters that there are around 2.39 lack vaccinators (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife-ANM) across the country. Only 1.54 lakh ANMs to be used for COVID19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccination drive to have minimal impact on routine health services including routine immunisation.

He also said that the current cold chain is capable of storing an additional quantity of COVID19 vaccine required for first 3 crore health workers and front line workers.

The ministry also stated that vaccination cannot just be a State's or the Centre's responsibility, it has to be people’s participation.

In total, three vaccine manufacturers have sought emergency use authorisation in the country in the past few days. The latest being Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin candidate.

An expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) will meet on Wednesday to review applications of Pfizer, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech seeking emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

"DCGI has already started processing the applications. The subject expert committee on COVID-19 at CDSCO will deliberate on the applications by Pfizer, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech seeking emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccines on December 9," a source said to PTI.

At an all-party meeting on December 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed hope that a COVID-19 vaccine may be ready in a few weeks.

That evening, the Indian arm of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer had sought approval for its vaccine from the central drug regulator, after the firm secured such clearance in the UK and Bahrain.

The Serum Institute sought the nod for the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, on December 6.

Moreover, the ministry also reviewed the Covid-19 situation and said over 14.8 crore COVID-19 tests conducted so far; cumulative positivity rate has come down to 6.5 per cent. "Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Delhi contributed 54 pc of total active COVID-19 cases in India,"said Health Ministry.

It also informed the reporters that there is a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases in India since mid-Sept though infections rising in several other countries.

With agency inputs





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