Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced that the COVID-19 vaccines which will give us a glimmer of hope in today’s dark situation, will soon be a reality. The coronavirus vaccine will be available in the next few months and it is estimated that 400-500 million doses will be made available for 25-30 crore people by July-August, he said while addressing a webinar on ‘The Shifting Healthcare Paradigm During and Post-Covid’ organised by the FICCI FLO (FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO)), the women wing of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
Though universal access to the vaccine cannot be promised in the initial stage, he ensures that the central government has started preparing a system to roll out coronavirus vaccine in the country once it is available, thus reassuring many.
He also mentions that in this situation, it is only normal to prioritize the supply of vaccines, giving first preference to those at a higher risk which include health workers and the elderly population of the country, aged above 65 and between 50 and 65 followed by those aged below 50 who suffer from other diseases and are at a higher risk.
Official sources said that the coronavirus vaccine will be distributed under a special COVID-19 inoculation programme, using the processes, technology and network of the existing Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). An SMS will be sent to the recipients mentioning time, date and venue to get the shots. Each person in the immunisation list would be linked with their Aadhaar cards to avoid duplication and to track beneficiaries. However, in case a person does not have an aadhaar card, a government photo identity proof can be used.
Several candidates have reached different phases of trials in the hope of succeeding in creating the vaccine which will help millions of lives. Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Covishield, developed by the University of Oxford have already started the phase III clinical trial. ZyCoV-D by Zydus Cadila is in the phase II clinical trial in the country. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will soon start phase II clinical trials of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India. Let us hope that the coming days will give us good news about the vaccines.