Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said that he will be the first person to take COVID-19 vaccine so as to dispel the "trust deficit" around the same. In an interaction on social media, Vardhan said that even as no date has been fixed for the launch of the coronavirus vaccine, it may be ready by the first quarter of 2021.
He also said that the vaccine will be given first to the people who need it the most and it will be irrespective of their paying capacity. "Issues like vaccine security, cost, equity, cold-chain requirements, production timelines etc, are also being discussed intensely," he stated.
Further, he said that the government is considering emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccination especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings. "This shall be done after a consensus has been reached," he added.
India currently has three vaccine candidates - COVAXIN by ICMR and Bharat Biotech, vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and DNA vaccine of pharma giant Zydus Cadila.
Meanwhile, after AstraZeneca resumed coronavirus vaccine trials in the United Kingdom, Serum Institute of India (SII) on Saturday said it would only resume trials after permission from Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI). "Once DCGI (Drugs Controller General of India) gives us permission to restart the trials in India, we will resume the trials," SII CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted.
Poonawalla also said: "As I'd mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end."
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford earlier on Saturday said that clinical trials for their coronavirus vaccine have resumed in the UK after the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority's (MHRA) confirmed that the trials were safe.