Common people might not get shots of coronavirus vaccine until 2022, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said. According to Guleria, who is a member of the national task force on coronavirus management, it will take "more than a year" for the COVID-19 vaccine to be easily available in the Indian market.
"In our country the population is large; we need time to see how the vaccine can be bought from the market like a flu vaccine and take it. That will actually be the ideal situation," the AIIMS director told CNN-News 18.
"Maintaining the cold chain, having adequate syringes, and needles are the seamless challenges that need to be solved in order to distribute vaccines to the remotest part of the country," Guleria added.
Another challenge would be to figure out the positioning of another vaccine that comes later and could be more effective than the previous one.
"So, if we have a vaccine that comes out later and is seen to be more effective than the first one, how do we position it? How do we do a course correction? How to then decide who needs vaccine A and who needs vaccine B? A lot of decisions need to be taken as we go along," AIIMS director told the publication.
Meanwhile, the Centre is preparing a blueprint to roll out the coronavirus vaccine in the country. The vaccine will be distributed under a special COVID-19 inoculation programme, using the process, technology, and network of the existing Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
The centre has started the process of identifying 30 crore priority beneficiaries. According to Vinod Paul, a member of NITI Aayog, frontline workers will be the first to get vaccinated in the country.
Union Health Ministry's existing digital platform eVIN for the UIP will be used for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and delivery. An SMS will be sent to the recipients' mobile phones mentioning the time, date, and venue to get the shots. Each person on the immunisation list will be linked to their Aadhaar cards to avoid duplication.
Schools, panchayat buildings, Anganwadi centres along with healthcare facilities, will serve as vaccination sites.
The National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 has already mapped the existing cold chain presently being utilised under the government's immunisation programme.
As per the Bloomberg report, the government has set aside about Rs 50,000 crore at an estimated Rs 500 per person to vaccinate the world's second-most populous nation.