After a brief slowdown, the number of coronavirus cases is once again skyrocketing with the national capital Delhi witnessing a precarious scenario. Hazardous air pollution together with lowering of guard by people during the festive season resulted in COVID-19 cases spiral in the city.
Amid the concerns, all eyes are now on the COVID-19 vaccine. When will the vaccine be available in India? Citizens are awaiting a positive and early response to the question. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, in an exclusive interview with India TV, has made a big announcement.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said that by June 2021, the government would vaccinate approximately 25-30 crore people. "Details regarding cold chain requirements and logistics have already been put in place. We are expecting to get the good news concerning the vaccine by February-March," the minister said.
He said that over 200 vaccine candidates are under development across the world of which 30 are Indian. " Out of these, 5 are in advance stage of which 2 are in the third stage of clinical trial. I hope that a vaccine will be available by early 2021," Harsh Vardhan said.
Harsh Vardhan on Delhi COVID-19 scare
Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the rising number of coronavirus cases in Delhi is certainly worrisome, and asserted that the government is doing all to flatten the graph. "Delhi is the national capital and the situation here is certainly a cause of worry for us. It sends out a negative message if the situation deteriorates in the capital," he said.
The minister stressed that it was important for people not to lower their guard in the fight against the deadly disease. Harsh Vardhan said, "It appears that after 10-11 months people are now thinking that they can handle the disease. A few may also have started believing that corona won't affect them. This is unfortunate."
Various vaccine candidates
The phase-3 trial of the Oxford vaccine of the Serum Institute is almost near completion, while the phase-3 clinical trial of the indigenously-developed vaccine candidate of the Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has already started.
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have said their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories will also soon start the combined phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in India.