NEW DELHI: As Russia claimed that it has developed a coronavirus vaccine, India’s national expert committee on
administration will meet on Wednesday to deliberate on key issues of suitable vaccine selection, procurement, delivery and who should be immunised on priority, keeping in mind logistics and equity aspects.
Though the health ministry refused comment on the Russian claim, it said the mandate of the committee headed by Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul was to engage with all stakeholders, including state governments and vaccine manufacturers. “The terms of reference of the expert group include selecting a suitable vaccine, its delivery and prioritising groups that should receive it,” health secretary
Apart from Paul and Bhushan, the panel includes foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, department of biotechnology secretary
, ICMR director general Balram Bhargava and All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Randeep Guleria, among others.
Asked whether India could procure the Russian vaccine, the government said procurement and funding mechanisms, as well as how many doses may be needed, were under discussion. “The issue of requirement of vaccine and various modalities of funding the procurement of a possible vaccine have been engaging the attention of the ministry of health. There have been internal consultations, which have been going on. We have also consulted a large number of stakeholders, and we have also made certain projections. It would be premature to share those projections with you right now,” Bhushan said.
In India, three vaccines are in the clinical trial stage. While
and Cadila Healthcare are conducting phase 1 and 2 clinical trials on locally developed vaccine candidates, Pune-based Serum Institute is doing phase 3 trials for Oxford University’s vaccine candidate developed in the UK.
The government has maintained that once an effective vaccine is available anywhere in the world, efforts will be made to ensure it is available to people in the country as well.