India may begin vaccinating people for COVID-19 in January, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said, adding that the government’s priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
“I personally feel may be in January in any stage or any week, there can be a time when we can be in a position to give first Covid vaccine shot to the people of India,” Harsh Vardhan told news agency ANI in an interview.
The minister said that the vaccines that have applied for emergency use authorisation are being analysed by the drug regulator.
“India is not less than any country when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine and research. Our priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. We do not want any compromise on that. Our regulators are analysing them with seriousness,” he said.
The minister had said on Saturday that the country’s scientists and health experts have worked on an indigenous vaccine and in the next six to seven months, India will have the capacity to inoculate about 30 crore people.
“Our scientists and health experts have worked on the development of a vaccine by genome sequencing and isolation of the coronavirus and developed an indigenous vaccine. In 6-7 months, we will have the capacity to inoculate about 30 crore people,” he had said, addressing a ministers’ meeting on COVID-19.
There are six COVID-19 vaccine candidates in different clinical trial stages in India including Covishield, Covaxin, ZyCoV-D, Sputnik V, NVX-CoV2373 and a recombinant protein antigen-based vaccine.
Besides this, three COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in the pre-clinical stage of which one is in the pre-development stage, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.
Earlier this month, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to authorise the use of Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency purposes.
(With inputs from ANI)