Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Monday, said that two more coronavirus vaccines will be announced soon. She stated that India already has two COVID-19 jabs available, adding that India currently also has one of the lowest death rates and active cases in the world.
"India has two vaccines available and has begun safeguarding not only her own citizens against COVID-19, but also those of 100 or more countries. It has added comfort to know that two more vaccines are also expected soon," FM Sitharaman said during her Budget speech.
The finance minister added that the government will also provide Rs 35,000 crore for coronavirus vaccination in 2021-22 and is committed to providing further support to eliminate COVID-19.
The two coronavirus vaccines presently there in India are Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. FM Sitharaman also said that the government's Atmanirbhar packages amounting to Rs 27.1 lakh crore to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerated the pace of structural reforms.
She also proposed the introduction of Atmanirbhar health programme with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore. "This will be in addition to the national health mission," the finance minister said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on January 16 launched the world's largest vaccination drive, encompassing the entire length and breadth of India. He said that only two other countries - the US, and China - carried out such a massive inoculation programme.
"There are 100 countries which do not have a population of 3 crore but India in the first phase will inoculate 3 crore healthcare workers. In the next step, we will take this number to 30 crore. There are only three countries in the world with more than 30 crore population: India, the US and China. Hence, this is going to be the biggest vaccination drive," PM Modi said.
PM Modi also noted that although it takes several years for scientists and researchers to develop successful vaccines, India now has two 'Made in India' vaccines ensured within a year of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Normally, it takes many years to make a vaccine but in such a short span of time, not one, but two 'Made in India' vaccines are ready. Meanwhile, the work on other vaccines is progressing at a fast pace," the prime minister said.