With India gearing up to launch world’s largest immunisation drive against the novel coronavirus, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that COVID-19 vaccine are going to be free across the country and “not just in Delhi”. The statement from Vardhan comes after Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain said that “medicines and treatment are being provided for free” within the capital .
“In 1st phase of COVID-19 vaccination, free vaccine shall be provided across the state to most prioritised beneficiaries that incl 1 crore healthcare and a couple of crore frontline workers,” Vardhan said during a tweet later.
The Union Health Minister also inspected a rehearsal drill at a Delhi hospital and reiterated that “safety and efficacy” of a vaccine is government’s top priority, urging people to not attend to the rumours.
I appeal to people to not attend to rumours. Ensuring the security and efficacy of the vaccine is our priority. Different sorts of rumours were spread during polio immunisation but people took the vaccine and India is now polio-free,” press agency ANI quoted Vardhan as saying.
Meanwhile, India on Saturday conducted a mega-drill altogether states and union territories (UTs) across 259 sites to equip the administration within the management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics, including cold chain management.
Through this nationwide activity, the govt wants to “assess operational feasibility within the use of Co-Win application within the field environment, to check the linkages between planning and implementation and to spot the challenges and guide the way forward before actual implementation”.
What is the status of coronavirus vaccines in India?
Currently, there are six COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, in several clinical test stages in India. Out of the six candidates, three are within the pre-clinical stage.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is one among the three vaccine candidates in India that has applied for emergency use authorisation. Currently, phase 3 clinical trails of Covaxin is being conducted across the country.
Covishield, which is being manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) together with Oxford and AstraZeneca, is one among the leading vaccine candidates in India. SII has currently applied for its emergency use authorisation and media reports suggest which will likely get a nod from the Centre.
ZyCoV-D is being developed in India by Zydus Cadila. The vaccine, which is conducting its phase 3 trials, will likely be available in India by March 2021.
Biological E is being developed by Biological E limited. The vaccine is currently in phase 2 of its clinical trials.
Mynvax are often stored at 37-degree Celsius and is being developed by a Bengaluru based medical pharmaceutical firm in India.