Pune : If everything goes well, India may get the Covid-19 vaccine by March 2021. An official of Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, said this. The company is testing Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Corona vaccine in the country. SII executive director Dr Suresh Jadhav told The Indian Express that India could get the vaccine of Covid-19 by March 2021 if regulators give early approval ‘because many manufacturers are working on it’. He said that research on Covid-19 vaccine in India is going on very fast. Phase-3 trials of two vaccine candidates are underway in the country and one is in Phase-2. Research and development is underway in India on more vaccine candidates.
What does the WHO say on the vaccine?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the vaccine should be ready by the second quarter of next year. She said that ‘any vaccine trial has its ups and downs’. She said, “By January 2021, we will be able to see the results (of the final trial) and by the second quarter of 2021 the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 should be ready.”
Will make 8 crore doses of vaccine by December : SII
Dr. Jadhav, while addressing the India Vaccine Availability E-Summit, said, “We can make 70 to 80 crore doses of vaccine every year. Around 55% of our population is under 50 years of age, but depending on the availability of vaccines first Healthcare workers should get it, then everyone else.” He said, ‘We will prepare 6 to 7 crore doses by December 2020 but only after getting the licensing clearance, it will be able to come into the market. After that we will prepare more doses with the permission of the government.’
Government in preparation for vaccine storage and distribution
As the vaccine trial progresses, the government has stepped up preparations related to storage and distribution. They are looking for government and private destinations where vaccine stores can be found. The focus is on cold storage as most of the vaccine has to be kept at a fixed temperature and distributed. If the temperature changes, the vaccine will be neutralized. The Expert Group, led by Dr. VK Paul, is monitoring this exercise.
Government can approve many vaccines, not one
The vaccines of Covid-19 undergoing trials in India are double or triple doses. In such a situation, the government may approve many vaccines to cover everyone as soon as possible. Public health experts are also saying that giving two or more doses of vaccine than a single dose gives better antibodies response. According to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, the government is considering the availability of different types of vaccines. He said that different vaccines can be approved according to the age group because one vaccine may be effective on a particular age group and not the other.