India May Fast Track COVID-19 Vaccine for High Risk Groups: Govt
The Indian government is considering emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk groups.
The Indian government is considering emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk groups. This proposal focuses on the inoculation of groups such as senior citizens and healthcare workers, and comes in the light of the worsening conditions of the infection outbreak in the country.
According to a Times of India report, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan declared in a social media interaction called ‘Sunday Samvaad’, “This shall be done after a consensus is reached.”
Vardhan maintained that while no date for the vaccine launch has been ascertained yet, a vaccine is likely to be ready by the the first quarter of 2021.
Officials added that the final phase trial for a vaccine candidate extends for upto six to nine months, but an emergency authorisation can be considered once a certain degree of efficacy and safety is proven.
Currently, India has three COVID-19 vaccine candidates in advanced stages of clinical trials. The vaccine being developed jointly by AstraZeneca and Oxford is set to enter Phase-3 of the trials, while two other candidates, locally developed by Bharat Biotech and Cadila, are presently under Phase-2 trials. The government is also in talks with Russia regarding the Sputnik V vaccine.
Vardhan said that the government is taking all possible measures for the conduction of vaccine trials, and is planning towards achieving inoculation for majority of the population.
“Issues like vaccine security, cost, equity, cold-chain requirements, production timelines are being discussed intensely.”Harsh Vardhan
In order to alleviate concerns surrounding the fast-tracking of the vaccine, Vardhan also stated that he would be willing to receive the first dose of the vaccine. He added that the vaccine would first be made available to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity.
(With inputs from Times of India)
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