Covid-19 vaccination must be affordable, universal: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Last Updated 30 June 2020, 14:54 IST

India would follow an “anyone, anywhere” principle while administering a vaccine against Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday, laying the ground rules for the Covid-19 vaccination programme as and when such a vaccine hits the market.

This would mean the vaccine would be administered to everyone all over the country without imposing any domicile restrictions.

Also, the vulnerable groups like doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and front-line personnel on duty like the police and paramilitary forces should be among the first groups to receive the shot when the vaccine becomes available commercially.

The Prime Minister reviewed the planning and preparations for the Covid-19 vaccination programme of the future, a day after the first indigenous vaccine against the novel coronavirus 2019 infection received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India to carry out phase-1 and phase-2 clinical trials.

Developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotechnology, the homemade inoculation, Covaxin is based on a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

The Drug Controller General of India has granted permission to initiate clinical trials after the company submitted results generated from preclinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response. Human clinical trials are scheduled to start across India in July 2020.

In his review, Modi also told the officials to ensure that the vaccine remains affordable, which would be administered universally so that no one is left behind. The vulnerable people among the general population like the elderly individuals would be given a priority.

The fourth ground rule for the vaccination programme would be strict monitoring of the entire process from production to vaccination in real time with the use of technology.

Globally there are more than a dozen Covid-19 vaccines that are in clinical trials at the moment. The first set of results from one such vaccine trials at Oxford University, however, was not very promising but a second vaccine undergoing (developed by US firm Moderna) trials in the USA produced encouraging results.

(Published 30 June 2020, 11:42 IST)

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