Health Minister gives no timeline for vaccine launch

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NATIONAL | Sept 14, 2020:

Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan today said that no date has been fixed for the launch of the vaccine in the country and it may be ready by the first quarter of next year.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said this while interacting with his social media followers on the Sunday Samvad platform. He said the Government is taking full precautions in conducting the human trials of the vaccine.

The Minister said, under the Chairmanship of Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 is drawing up a detailed strategy on how to immunize majority of the population.

He said issues like vaccine security, cost, equity, cold-chain requirements and production timelines are also been discussed intensely.

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Health Minister assured the vaccine will be first made available to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity.

He said India is actively partnering with Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and trials at different phases are ongoing with respect to several vaccines in Indian laboratories and hospitals.

The Minister said that the Government is considering emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccination especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings.