Modi says COVID-19 vaccine could be available in a few weeks, government developing vaccination strategy
New Delhi, December 4, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said vaccines against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) could be available in the next few weeks and that the government was developing a comprehensive vaccination strategy for the country.
Participating in an all-party meeting convened via video-conferencing to discuss the COVID-19 vaccination strategy in India, Modi said the world was looking towards India for the development of a safe and affordable vaccine.
He spoke about his visit to vaccine manufacturing facilities in Ahmedabad, Pune and Hyderabad and said that about eight potential vaccines, currently in different stages of trial, will be manufactured in India, including the three indigenous vaccines.
The Prime Minister said that the vaccination campaign will kickstart in India as soon as the vaccine is approved by the scientists. The Central government is working in close coordination with the State governments to identify the priority groups for vaccination, he said.
Underlining India's vaccine distribution expertise, capacity and presence of an experienced and vast network for vaccination, he said that this would help the country in streamlining COVID-19 vaccination.
He said collaboration with State Governments would be established for additional cold chain equipment and other such logistical requirements.
Modi said a National Expert Group, that includes technical experts and officials of both the Central Government and State Governments, has been constituted to shoulder the responsibility of the campaign related to the vaccine. The National Expert Group will take decisions collectively as per national and regional requirements.
He said Indians had fought the pandemic with "indomitable will", noting that the restraint, courage, and strength of Indians has been incomparable and unprecedented during this entire battle.
"We not only helped our fellow Indians but also made every effort to save the citizens of other countries as well. Also, the scientific methodology adopted by India led to increased testing in India, which not only reduced the positivity rate but also reduced the COVID mortality rate," he said.
The Prime Minister cautioned against rumors that may be spread about vaccination, saying that it would be against both public interest and national interest. He called upon all the leaders to make the citizens of the country more aware, and prevent any such rumors from spreading.
He thanked the leaders of all parties for their valuable contribution in the fight against COVID.
Along with this, he again appealed to the citizens to be constantly alert and not let the guard down in following the preventive measures against the virus.
Political parties that participated in the meeting included the Indian National Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, YSR Congress Party, JD(U), BJD, Shiv Sena, TRS, BSP, SP, AIADMK and BJP.
An official press release said the leaders assured the Prime Minister of their full support to ensure efficient and speedy vaccination.
They hailed the leadership of the Prime Minister in tackling the pandemic and praised the scientific community as well as vaccine manufacturers for their efforts in vaccine development, the release added.