Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday that the Centre is working on plans to procure 400-500 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, which will be administered to up to 25 crore people by July 2021.
“Government plans to receive and utilise 400-500 million Covid-19 vaccine doses. Our target is to cover 20-25 crore people by July 2021. For that, we are building capacities in HR, training, supervision, etc, on a massive scale,” he said at his weekly webinar ‘Sunday Samvaad’ for his social media followers.
The Minister said that a high-level committee under Niti Aayog Member, Health, V.K. Paul is drawing up the entire process. “Vaccine procurement is being done centrally and each consignment will be tracked real time until delivery to ensure it reaches those who need it most,” he said.
Harsh Vardhan said that these committees are working on understanding the timelines of availability of various vaccines in the country, obtaining commitments from their manufacturers to make available maximum number of doses for India’s inventory, on supply chain management and also on prioritisation of high-risk groups.
“This is work in progress which will be completed by the time the vaccines are ready to ensure the swift roll-out of the immunisation programme,” he said.
He also indicated that the frontline workers and those having underlying health conditions are in the top priority list of the government for vaccine administration, saying that his ministry is currently preparing a format in which states will submit lists of priority population groups to receive the vaccine, especially health workers engaged in the management of Covid-19.
“The list of frontline health workers will include both government as well as private sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff, ASHA workers, surveillance officers and many other occupational categories who are involved in tracing, testing and treatment of patients,” he added.
“The vaccine will be distributed as per pre-decided priority and in a programmed manner. To ensure transparency and accountability, details of the entire process will be shared in the coming months,” he said.
Harsh Vardhan also informed that the states are being closely guided to also submit details about cold chain facilities and other related infrastructure which will be required down to the block level distribution of the vaccine.
“This exercise is targeted to be completed by the end of this October,” he said.
The Drugs Controller General of India has granted license to Tagoor Laboratories Pvt Ltd to manufacture and market Favipiravir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) for treatment of Covid-19, the company said.
With a surge of 75,829 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, India’s total tally on Sunday crossed the 65-lakh mark, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) data showed.
The number of new cases was, however, less by 3,647 vis-a-vis the previous day’s 79,476 figure.
As per the latest data, 75,829 more cases and 940 more fatalities in 24 hours took India’s total cases to 65,49,373 and the COVID-19 death toll to 1,01,782.
Out of the total, 9,37,625 are active cases, whereas 55,09,966 patients have been cured and discharged.
It took the country 205 days to register this death toll ever since the first case was reported. A month ago, India had recorded 67,376 deaths.
A 76-year-old man had succumbed to coronavirus on March 13, becoming the first COVID-19 fatality in the country.
While the recovery rate stands at a 83.84 per cent, the fatality rate has come down to 1.56 per cent, the data said.
Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit state with 14,16,513 cases, including 37,480 deaths, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi.
According to Indian Council of Medical Research data, India tested 11,42,131 samples in a day on Saturday, taking the total tests so far to 7,89,92,534.