Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday, 13 October, said that a coronavirus vaccine is expected to be available in India by early next year from more than one source.
“We're expecting that early next year we should have vaccine in the country from maybe more than one source. Our expert groups are formulating strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution of the vaccine in the country,” the Health Minister said during a Group of Ministers meeting on Tuesday, according to ANI.
There are currently four vaccines for COVID-19 in advanced stages of trials in India – two indigenous vaccines by Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech, the vaccine candidate named Covishield, developed jointly by the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute's and AstraZeneca and Russia’s ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine, IANS reported.
On Sunday, speaking about the government’s plan for rolling out the vaccine, Harsh Vardhan had said that it is anticipated that supplies of COVID-19 vaccines would be available in limited quantities in the beginning.
"“In a huge country like India, it is critical to prioritise vaccine delivery based on various factors such as per risk of exposure, comorbidity among various population groups, the mortality rate among COVID Cases, and several others.” " - Dr Harsh Vardhan, Health Minister
He had also said then that India is looking at the availability of several different types of vaccines in the country.
Late September, the health minister had said that the first COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be available in India in the first quarter of 2021.
At a media briefing, he said that “research to develop a vaccine is being done expeditiously. There are at least three viable such vaccine candidates that are in the phase of clinical trials right now in the country. We’re hopeful that within the 1st quarter of 2021 it will be available.”
Prior to that, during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, the health minister had said that the coronavirus vaccine will be made available in the country by the start of next year.
"Just like other countries, India is also making efforts. Three vaccines candidates are in different phases. Under Prime Minister's guidance, an expert group is looking at it and there is advanced planning in place. We are hopeful that by the start of next year a vaccine will be available in India," Harsh Vardhan had said in Rajya Sabha.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on 6 October had also suggested that a vaccine against COVID-19 could be ready by year-end.
“We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine. There is hope,” the WHO chief had said, according to Reuters.
(With inputs from ANI, IANS and Reuters)
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