Experts believe that the COVID vaccine “will be ready in the next few weeks”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today during an all-party meeting, asserting that India’s vaccination programme would begin as soon as a go-ahead from scientists is given. “Experts expect that the vaccine will be ready within next few weeks itself. Once scientists approve it, the nation-wide vaccination drive will be started in India. Our scientists are very confident of succeeding in their endeavour of making COVID-19 vaccine. The world is keeping a watch on the cheapest and safe vaccine,” he said during the meeting which was attended by about 12 leaders from prominent political parties. PM Modi, who, last week visited India’s top vaccine hubs to personally review the development of coronavirus vaccine and the manufacturing process also assured that the country has the necessary infrastructure to manufacture the vaccine at a large scale. Nearly eight vaccines are at different stages of trial with their manufacturing assured in India, PM Modi said. “The vaccine distribution and administration is given to a national experts group. Advice will be taken from them on a comprehensive and real-time manner. India has the facilities needed to manufacture the vaccine at a large scale. In fact, our preparation is better than most others,” PM Modi said at the meeting, which is the second such meet called by the government over the issue.
Three vaccines from India are also at different stages of trial, he said. “Centre is in talks with state governments over the price of vaccine and decision regarding it will be taken keeping public health as topmost priority,” he added. Frontline healthcare workers, elderly people and those suffering life-threatening symptoms and diseases will be among the first to get the Covid vaccine, he said. About 12 leaders from prominent political parties, including Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad (who is representing the Congress), Sudip Bandyopadhyay (Trinamool Congress) and Sharad Pawar of the NCP attended the virtual meeting. Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary also attended the meeting which started around 10:30 am. On Thursday, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary had written a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker demanding a short Winter Session of Parliament to deliberate the COVID-19 situation and Farmer’s agitation among other issues of urgent national importance.