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Expert panel plans for nationwide vaccination delivery

As the world inches closer to a COVID-19 vaccine with many vaccine candidates under final trials, and a few already under production, the Government of India has said that a linear system will be set up to procure COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

The government has further said that the process will be supervised by the central government, and has advised states to not run parallel mechanisms for the procurement of the vaccine.

The first meeting of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19, a NITI Aayog panel, was held on Wednesday, and the Union Health Ministry has said that the country would leverage domestic vaccine production capacity. The meeting was chaired by Dr V K Paul, Member Niti Aayog along with Secretary (Ministry of Health) as co-chair. While India will engage with international manufacturers for early delivery of doses, it will be not just for domestic use, but also for deployment in low-and middle-income countries, and key neighbouring countries.

The experts’ panel has also taken into consideration the plans and digital infrastructure required for the delivery of the vaccine. A real-time tracking process will be put into place for the same, the report said.

The experts’ panel is also laying down a blueprint to identify high-risk population groups and prioritize their vaccination process against the novel coronavirus.

India has two indigenous vaccine candidates by Bharat Biotech and Zydus Caldia underway. Meanwhile, phase 2-3 trials of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, named Covishield in India, are also likely to begin soon, as they have already been approved by DCGI.

So far, Russia has registered the first vaccine against COVID-19 in the world but experts have raised safety and efficacy concerns regarding the vaccine.

More than 20 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus so far, and the global death toll stands at beyond 7,45,000. India has more than 2 million confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, however, more than 1.6 million people have already recovered from the disease in the country. – Times Now News