India

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New Delhi, Feb 09: An expert committee set up to develop the criteria for identifying significant comorbidities present in a person, which would make that person priority individual for COVID-19 vaccination, will finalise its report in the next few days, Niti Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said on Tuesday.

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Apart from Oxford-AstraZeneca ''s Covishield vaccine and Bharat Biotech''s Covaxin vaccine, there are other vaccines that are in the pipeline, Paul stated.

"The criteria (to identify people with comorbidities) has been developed by a committee. We are expecting the final report in the next few days," he told PTI.

Paul, who is also the chairman of the National Expert Group On Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) said this committee has gone deeply into it and looked at which comorbidities -- the presence of two or more diseases or medical conditions in a patient -- should be kept in mind.

"They are also looking at how to ascertain this, who will certify it, where will the person has go to get the priority vaccine," he said, adding that so the procedural and process issues have also been discussed.

"In this regard, not only the expert committee has met, but also we have had discussions with the state governments," Paul said.

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According to the government, vaccination shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.

Replying to a question on the perception that that there is an extra push by the government for Bharat Biotech''s Covaxin vaccine, Paul said, "We are not pushing one vaccine (Covaxin) versus the other (Covishield), both vaccines are being pushed, both vaccines are being promoted."

"And we want you to take the vaccine whichever vaccine is allotted to you," he added.

The Niti Aayog member pointed out that apart from Oxford-AstraZeneca ''s Covishield vaccine and Bharat Biotech''s Covaxin vaccine, there are other vaccines that are in the pipeline.

"We have Zydus Cadila''s DNA based Indian vaccine which is in the phase 3 trial and we hope that its phase 3 trial will be completed in a month or two and this vaccine could be made available," he said.

Paul said Russia Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 has been now extensively studied outside India and has shown promising results.

"Sputnik V bridging trial is almost in the final stages and this vaccine, once available, will be manufactured in the country," he said.

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According to Paul, there are two other vaccines, one is by Hyderabad-based Biological E and another is by Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals which are in early trial phase.

"So there is a pipeline of vaccines within our own country," he noted.

More than 58 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated till now in India.



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