The Government of India has formed a committee of experts comprising officials from ministries, and institutions to oversee aspect of issues related to coronavirus vaccine. The committee will be looking at aspects logistics to prioritisation, to set the stage for a smooth supply and effective use of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the committee will be led by Niti Aayog's Dr VK Paul and co-chaired by health secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
The committee members will decide which vaccine or vaccines will be effective for Indian citizens. The task force will also chalk out a budget and discuss how capital can be raised for procurement, distribution of the vaccine. Moreover, the high-level panel will prepare a strategy on inventory management and administration.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientist Balram Bhargava, India has three vaccine candidates in different phases of the clinical study.
The first is inactivated virus vaccine which is being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR. The vaccine has completed its Phase-1 study on one site and has started Phase-2 clinical trial.
The second is the DNA vaccine being developed by Zydus Cadila. This vaccine has also begun its Phase-2 trial at 11 sites.
The third is the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine that will be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to SII to conduct Phase 2 and 3 clinical studies in the 17 sites in the country.
Bhargava added, "It is important that once we have safe and effective vaccines, we really need to worry for four vital points - priority and fair distribution of vaccine, to look out logistic and roll out in a cold chain, stockpiling, and training people who are being given this vaccine."
At present, India is witnessing a rapid surge in coronavirus cases. In the last two days, India added more than one lakh cases. As per Union Health Ministry data, India on Saturday recorded 20.88 lakh cases of coronavirus.