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PM Narendra Modi indicates Covid vaccine may be just weeks away

India will be ready to roll out Covid-19 vaccines in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said at an all-party meeting on Friday. The Prime Minister said that about eight vaccines are at different stages of trial and as soon as the scientists give the necessary approvals, they would be made available for the citizens.

Modi said that priority would be given to healthcare workers especially those treating coronavirus patients, frontline workers and old people suffering from serious conditions.

“India's vaccination drive would begin as soon as we get a go-ahead from scientists. The Centre is working on the basis of suggestions from state governments about who will be inoculated in the first phase of the vaccination drive,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the central and state government teams are currently working on the distribution strategy.

Modi said that India has both expertise for vaccine distribution as well as capacity.

“Our scientists are very confident of succeeding in their endeavour of developing a vaccine against Covid-19. There are names of vaccines from different countries doing the rounds in the market, but the world is keeping a watch on having the cheapest and safest vaccine. That is why, it is natural that the world is watching India,” he said.

Modi underlined the need to ensure that rumours and false news, which are anti-national and anti human, are not spread during vaccination. “Thus, all political parties must make sure that we save all Indians from such rumours and spread awareness," he said.

Last week, Modi interacted with a team of vaccine developers from Zydus Biotech Park, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India (SII).

Meanwhile, according to Duke University's global health innovation centre, India has already secured 1.6 billion doses of Covid 19 vaccines, — the highest in the world. The European Union has secured 1.58 billion doses while the US about 1.01 billion.

India has secured one billion Novavax vaccine doses and half a million from with Oxford-AstraZeneca. Besides, Gamaleya Research Institute will be providing 10 million Sputnik-V doses. Novavax Inc and AstraZeneca have an agreement with the Pune-based SII for production, development and supply of the vaccines. SII chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla has assured that his company will work to ensure fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund has tied up with India's Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories for clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V vaccine in India..