Chennai: The wait for a vaccine against Covid-19, might not be too long, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday hinting on the possibility of an immunisation drive in the coming weeks.
According to sources, the government is preparing a comprehensive strategy for conducting a vaccination drive, but has cautioned against rumours regarding this.
In a virtual meeting with other political leaders, the Prime Minister briefed about the preparations for ‘cheap and safe’ Made in India vaccines.
“There are eight potential vaccines at different stages of trials and their production will be in India. Three indigenous vaccines are also at different levels of trials. It is believed that in the next few weeks, a Covid vaccine will be ready. As soon as scientists give the green signal, immunisation will start”, the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said that SII could apply for emergency approval of its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is said to be 62-90 per cent effective, within two weeks.
The other two local vaccines are unlikely to be ready in that time frame: Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has started phase three trials but the results aren’t out yet, while Zydus Cadila is planning to start final trial in December.
Modi also said, “The Central government is working in close coordination with the State governments to identify the priority groups for vaccination. A National Expert Group that includes technical experts and officials of both the Central and State governments has been constituted to shoulder the responsibility of the campaign related to the vaccine”.
Political parties that participated in the meeting included the Indian National Congress, BJP, Trinamool Congress, DMK, YSR Congress Party, JD(U), BJD, Shiv Sena, TRS, BSP, SP and AIADMK.