As the COVID-19 pandemic rages through the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a meeting to review India's vaccination strategy and discussed important issues related to the progress of vaccine development, regulatory approvals, and procurement.

The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary to PM, Cabinet Secretary, Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Principal Scientific Advisor, Secretary Health, DG ICMR, officers of PMO, and Secretaries of related Departments of Government of India.

"Held a meeting to review India’s vaccination strategy and the way forward. Important issues related to progress of vaccine development, regulatory approvals and procurement were discussed," Modi said.

"Reviewed various issues like prioritisation of population groups, reaching out to HCWs, cold-chain Infrastructure augmentation, adding vaccinators and tech platform for vaccine roll-out," he added.

Modi also appreciated the efforts of innovators, scientists, academicians and pharma-companies in their efforts to develop vaccines and has directed that every effort should be made to facilitate the research, development, and manufacturing of the vaccine.  

The Prime Minister has directed to work in collaboration with all reputed national and international institutions and regulators to ensure the rigour and highest global standards in Indian research and manufacturing.  

National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) in consultation with State Governments and all relevant stakeholders have accelerated the implementation of vaccination of priority groups in first phase.  

Modi reviewed the aspects of emergency use authorisation and for manufacture and procurement of medicine. As the results of these Phase III trials from national and international vaccine arrive, our robust and independent regulators will speedily and rigorously examine these for according authorisation for use.

The Prime Minister directed that a time-bound plan be laid out for speedy regulatory clearances and timely procurement for early rollout of the vaccination drive.

Modi appreciated comprehensive efforts at vaccine development. He also emphasised that given the persisting pandemic scenario there is no place for any relaxation in preventive measures such as wearing masks, keeping distance and ensuring hygiene. 

Five vaccines are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which 4 are in Phase II/III and one is in Phase-I/II.  Countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar, Bhutan, Switzerland, Bahrain, Austria and South Korea – have shown keen interest in partnering for vaccine development of Indian vaccines and use thereof. 

Bharat Biotech has started their third phase COVID-19 vaccine trials from November 20 (today). 

Meanwhile, final results from Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine trial showed its shot had a 95 percent success rate and two months of safety data, paving the way for the drugmaker to apply for an emergency US authorization within days, it said on Wednesday.

The vaccine’s efficacy rate, the highest of any candidate in late-stage clinical trials so far, was welcomed by experts who had already said that interim results showing Pfizer’s shot was over 90 per cent effective were very encouraging.

Pfizer said there were 170 cases of COVID-19 in its trial of more than 43,000 volunteers and only eight people with the disease had been given the shot rather than a placebo, meaning the vaccine had a 95 per cet efficacy rate. Of the 10 people who developed severe COVID-19, one had received the vaccine.

India`s coronavirus tally crossed the 90-lakh mark on Friday with 45,882 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The total cases in the country now stands at 90,04,366 including 4,43,794 active cases and 84,28,409 recoveries. With 584 new deaths, the toll mounted to 1,32,162. 





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