31 Dec 2020: India could start 2021 with COVID-19 vaccine in hand: DCGI
The approval for a COVID-19 vaccine in India is likely just around the corner, with the Drugs Controller General of India, Dr. VG Somani, indicating the country might begin the New Year with a vaccine in hand.
Interestingly, the Centre is also gearing up to conduct a dry run for the COVID-19 vaccination across all states and Union Territories on January 2.
DCGI's hint: 'Will have a happy New Year with something in hand'
The second dry run for COVID-19 vaccination comes amid the expectations that a vaccine will be approved and launched in the country soon in the New Year.
During a webinar on Thursday, Dr. Somani said, "Probably, we will have a happy New Year with something in hand. That is what I can hint at," speaking about the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine in India.
Vaccine plans: Preparations for COVID-19 vaccination program in last stages: PM Modi
The news of the second dry run and Somani's assurance come hours after PM Narendra Modi revealed that preparations for the COVID-19 vaccination program are almost done while laying the foundation stone of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Gujarat's Rajkot.
"Preparations are in last stages for the vaccination program against COVID-19. People will get vaccine manufactured in India," he said.
Fact: 'Dawai bhi, kadaai bhi,' says PM Modi
"I used to say, 'jab tak dawai nahi, dhilai nahi' (No let up till vaccination) but now our mantra for 2021 should be: 'Dawai bhi, kadaai bhi' (Yes to medicine and yes to caution)," said PM Modi, speaking in Rajkot.
Dry run: First dry run in four states has been successful
The second dry run is being held across the country after the first, which was conducted in four states on December 28 and 29, went on without any issues, the Health Ministry said.
"All the four participating states are satisfied with systems put in place for COVID-19 vaccination process," it stated.
The second dry run will be conducted at select places in every state/UT.
Fact: End-to-end testing of vaccination process
To recall, the first dry run was conducted by the Centre in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, and Punjab. It was held for the end-to-end testing of various mechanisms under the vaccination drive and for identifying any gaps in the system.
Statement: Dry run will give confidence to program managers: Centre
"The dry run will be conducted by all the State and UT governments on January 2, 2021 (Saturday)," the Centre stated.
"The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least three session sites; some states will also include districts...situated in difficult terrain/have poor logistical support...This will also give confidence to program managers at various levels," it added.
Details: Crucial meeting of expert panel on emergency-use vaccine authorization
Notably, these developments come ahead of a crucial meeting of the government-constituted expert panel on emergency-use vaccine authorization on January 1.
The committee, on Wednesday, took up for consideration the applications for emergency-use approval of vaccines from Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, and Pfizer.
The data analysis is underway, and once cleared by the panel, the applications will be sent for DCGI's approval.
Also see: Coronavirus: 'Davai bhi, kadaai bhi,' Modi calls for sustained caution
UK's approval to Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine paves way for India
Centre extends COVID-19 surveillance guidelines till January 31
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