A virtual all-party meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, where floor leaders from 19 parties represented in parliament were present to discuss the Covid-19 situation in India. During his closing remarks in the meeting where 30 leaders of various parties were present, that a vaccine against Covid-19 could be available for rollout in the next few weeks.
“Experts have assessed that it won’t be too long before a vaccine against Corona is available and that it could a matter of weeks for that to happen,” Mr Modi said. “As soon as scientists green light a vaccine the distribution will start,” he said.
A national group of scientists along with central and state government officials has been set up by the government, to map out the vaccination programme. This team is likely to gain an advantage from India’s long and experience vaccination network due to its integral role in the universal immunization programme. “Cold chain and other logistics will be boosted taking inputs from State governments,” he said. Frontline health workers and those with co-morbidities or elderly people with serious ailments would be first in line for the vaccine, Mr Modi said.
He further added that the vaccine would be priced “according to the imperatives of public health” and the recommendations of State governments.
The PM has placed major confidence in the possibility of an approved vaccine to be out for use soon, owing to his visits to vaccine development and manufacturing facilities in Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad and his talks with company officials there. India remains to be in the spotlight in the world’s race to find an effective and inexpensive vaccine, as eight vaccine candidates are being manufactured here along with three other being indigenously developed, he added.
“As we are on the cusp of getting a vaccine we should not now relapse into behaviour that may see another spurt in the disease. India’s experience in dealing with the Coronavirus despite not having the health infrastructure of developed countries is a sign of the country’s determination and adoption of a scientific approach to dealing with the disease. This must continue,” he said.