Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to hold virtual meetings with states/UTs chief minister and other representatives on Tuesday, November 24, to review coronavirus situation and discuss vaccine distribution strategy.
The Prime Minister is expected to hold two back-to-back meetings, one with those states with high caseloads and another related to vaccine distribution strategy.
Meanwhile, the government is exploring the modalities of emergency authorisation and usage of anti-coronavirus vaccines pending completion of phase-three clinical trials and regular licensure.
Recently, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Vinod Paul discussed the issue of advance purchase commitment for vaccines, including pricing. It was decided that PMO-constituted Vaccine Task Force (VTF) will lay down the principles for emergency use authorisation, while the National Expert Group On Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) should take the lead in setting the principles for advance market commitment, including vaccine pricing.
It was also decided that a NEGVAC group should be proactively reaching out to each global company, like Pfizer and Moderna, after they announced their results from phase three trials.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have announced that its vaccine appears 95 per cent effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study. Moderna has also announced that its COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be 94.5 per cent effective in preventing the deadly disease.
Meanwhile, in India, there are a total of five vaccines under different phases of clinical trials. The Serum Institute of India is conducting the phase-three trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, while Bharat Biotech and ICMR have started phase-three trials of the indigenously developed COVAXIN.
An indigenously developed vaccine by Zydus Cadila has completed a phase-two clinical trial. And, Dr Reddy's Laboratories will soon start combined phase two and three trials of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India.