As the race towards a coronavirus vaccine reaches the finishing line, governments are looking at the next concern -- procurement and distribution. In India, the expert committee responsible for planning the roadmap has decided that the potential COVID-19 vaccine would be procured by the Centre. The panel, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19, also decided on Wednesday that each consignment would be tracked in real time till the delivery is complete in order to ensure that it reaches the ones who need it the most.
"The Committee also advised all the States not to chart separate pathways of procurement," stated a health ministry statement. Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul headed the first meeting of the panel that discussed the maintenance of a cold chain during distribution and storage.
"The expert group discussed the financial resources required for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine and various options of financing the same. Available options in terms of delivery platforms, cold chain and associated infrastructure for roll out of COVID-19 vaccination were also taken up. Further, strategy and follow-up action on all possible scenarios to ensure equitable and transparent delivery of vaccine was deliberated upon," stated the ministry.
The high-level panel discussed that India would support its key neighbour and development partners for COVID-19 vaccine. "The expert group discussed that India will leverage domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity and will also engage with all international players for early delivery of vaccines not only in India but also in low and middle income countries," it said.
India is part of the COVAX platform of the vaccine alliance Gavi, WHO and CEPI and is likely to receive vaccines that could cover 20 per cent of its population by end of 2021. Serum Institute of India that is manufacturing the Oxford University vaccine along with Novavax is conducting trials for the former candidate. It is also likely to sign a deal with the government for vaccine delivery in the country.
Meanwhile, Russia on Tuesday announced the launch of its first coronavirus vaccine. Congratulating the researchers and the nation, President Vladimir Putin said one of his daughters has been administered a vaccine shot.