Covid vaccine by early next year: Govt

Covid vaccine by early next year: Govt
Dr. Harsh Vardhan
NEW DELHI, SEP 13 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/13/2020 12:25:17 PM IST

Will take first shot if any trust deficit: Harsh Vardhan

A Covid-19 vaccine is likely to be available by early next year and the government is considering its emergency authorisation for high-risk people, Union minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said, asserting he will take the first shot to address any “trust deficit” over its safety.

According to a health ministry statement, he said while no date has been fixed for the launch of a vaccine, it may be ready by the first quarter of 2021, and made available first to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity. The minister made these remarks during interaction with his social media followers on the ‘Sunday Samvad’ platform.

He covered a multitude of queries concerning not only the current Covid-19 situation, but also the government’s approach to it, the changes expected in the post Covid world and the steps taken by the Modi dispensation.

Vardhan stated the government is taking full precautions in human trials of vaccines and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 is drawing up a detailed strategy on how to immunize the majority of the population. “Issues like vaccine security, cost, equity, cold-chain requirements, production timelines etc., are also been discussed intensely,” he stated.

On vaccine candidates and their development in the country, he said India is actively partnering with Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and trials of several vaccines at different phases are underway at laboratories (private or public) and hospitals.

The Department of Biotechnology and the Indian Council of Medical Research have been proactive in responding to the emerging situation, he said.

It is hoped that a consensus will emerge in the next few months over the desired level of protective herd immunity in any community, he said. The minister, however, also noted that a safe and effective vaccine will help in establishing immunity to Covid-19 at a much faster pace as compared to the natural infection, the statement said.

Vardhan further said that the government had directed all states and UTs to fix a reasonable price for Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals for making it affordable for the common man. Free coverage up to Rs 5 lakhs for Covid-19 patients for those who are eligible under the Ayushman Bharat PMJAY package was announced, the statement said.

He added that the Central government has also asked states and UTs to proactively engage with the private sector health providers and consider pooling in public and private healthcare facilities, as this will help in providing prompt, good quality and reasonable health care to Covid-19 patients.


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