AIIMS Director, Dr Randeep Guleria on Thursday said that there is possibility of availability of COVID-19 vaccination anytime soon in the country. Speaking to news agency ANI, Dr. Guleria said that he is hopeful that by the end of December, or early next month, emergency use authorization from Indian regulatory authorities will be given to a vaccine, which can then be used to vaccinate the general public. "In India, we now have vaccines which are in their final trial stage. Hopeful that by the end of this month or early next month we should get emergency use authorisation from Indian regulatory authorities to start giving vaccine to public," he said.
He further informed that there is good data available that the vaccines are very safe. "Safety & efficacy of vaccine not compromised at all. 70,000-80,000 volunteers given vaccine, no significant serious adverse effects seen. Data shows that in the short term vaccine is safe."
Responding to the vaccine impact during Chennai trial, the AIIMS director said the Chennai trial case is an incidental finding rather than related to vaccine. "When we vaccinate a large number of people, some of them may have some other disease, which may not be related to vaccine," he added.
On vaccine distribution, Dr Guleria said, "Work is going on at war-footing both at the Centre and the state level for vaccine distribution plan in terms of maintaining cold chain, having appropriate storehouses available, developing strategy, training vaccinators and availability of syringes.
He further said that in the beginning, Covid-19 vaccine will not be available in sufficient doses to give to everyone. "We need a priority list to see that we vaccinate those who've high chances of dying due to Covid. Elderly, people with comorbidities and front line workers should be vaccinated first."
Expressing his thoughts on the current COVID-19 wave, Guleria said, "Now, we've seen a decline in the current wave and I hope this will continue if we are able to have a good COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. We're close to having a big change related to a pandemic if we manage this behaviour for the next three months."
The vaccines currently under trial in India include Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, being produced and tested by the Serum Institute of India.
Other vaccines being tested in India are Russia's Sputnik V, currently under trials at the Dr Reddy's Laboratories. India's home-grown Covaxin, being developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with ICMR has also proven as an effective and safe vaccine so far.