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Too soon for procurement in India: Health minister

A deal for a vaccine with the developers of any of the candidates is too premature for India at this point, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said, even as news poured in of successes by at least three teams of researchers, some of whom have already entered into deals with other countries.

Early-stage trial results published in the journal Lancet showed the vaccine candidate developed at the University of Oxford is safe and effective. The news was separately followed by successes reported by a Chinese as well as a German vaccine.

“I do not know about the details of this particular vaccine candidate but there are more than 200 trials happening around the world currently for developing a vaccine against Covid-19, and all are currently far from the stage of manufacturing. None of these are a ready vaccine, rather, these are merely vaccine candidates,” said minister Harsh Vardhan, while also seeking to assure that India will not lag behind in providing vaccines to its people.

“Even though we are closely following every single related development, it will still be too premature to put out the vaccine procurement and roll-out plan of the government in public domain just as yet,” he said.

“Having said that, I want to tell people that India government is in touch with all concerned involved in anti-Covid vaccine development, both nationally and internationally. I want to assure our citizens that the government is working to ensure whenever a vaccine is ready, wherever it is ready, it will be made available to our people also. We are also in touch with the World Health Organisation in this regard. We won’t lag behind in any way. We have plans in place and at the right time, we will make the information public,” he added.

The minister also said that for the past few months, India is fully focused on managing Covid-19 pandemic in the country, with great success, including expediting drugs and vaccine development initiatives.

“We have been expediting all permissions, be it related to investigational therapies such as Remdesivir or granting approvals to our indigenous vaccine candidates. There has been no delay and we have made some of the life-saving drugs available to our people in record time without compromising on regulatory requirements. The government is making concerted efforts, and will take up anything that is seen moving in a positive direction, and is good for its people. We are closely following the whole process,” he said. – Hindustan Times

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