Vaccine likely in few weeks, decision on price after talks with states: PM Modi

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan were present in the meeting.

Three vaccines are in various stages of clinical trials in India and experts believe that a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready in a few weeks, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

In a virtual meeting with leaders of all political parties on the Covid-19 situation, the vaccine challenges and the way forward, Modi said deliberations are underway with the states about the pricing and distribution of the vaccine as he underlined that public health be will be top priority. He also said that frontline workers and elderly persons with serious ailments will be among the first to get vaccination.

Just days ago, the Prime Minister had reviewed the vaccine development at manufacturing facilities in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune. On Monday, he had also held a virtual meeting with three more pharmaceutical companies whose vaccine candidates for Covid-19 are currently in clinical trials.

About 12 leaders from key political parties having five or more than five MPs, were present at the meeting with the MP, sources told PTI. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke on behalf of the Congress while Sudip Bandyopadhyay represented Trinamool Congress, Sharad Pawar NCP, Nama Nageswara Rao TRS and Vinayak Raut represented Shiv Sena.

Before the meeting, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said he hoped that the PM will clarify when will every Indian get free COVID-19 vaccine. “In today’s all-party meeting, we hope the PM clarifies by when will every Indian get free Covid vaccine,” he tweeted.

This will be the second all-party meeting called by the government since the outbreak of the pandemic to discuss the COVID-19 situation.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan were present in the meeting. Parliamentary Affairs Ministers Pralhad Joshi and ministers of state in the same ministry Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan, who reached out to floor leaders for the meeting, also take part in the meeting.

Earlier, PM Modi chaired a high level meeting with Chief Ministers of the states in which he underlined the important role of the states on vaccine administration and distribution. In the November 24 meeting, he had directed the states to provide their plans to build a final blue print on the immunisation drive and asked them to build decentralised mechanisms till block level in the form of task force to ensure the smooth rollout of vaccine.

The Centre is presently conducting an extensive backend preparation for the Covid-19 vaccination drive. It expects to receive and utilise 400-500 million doses and cover approximately 20-25 crore people by July 21.

Source: The Indian Express

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