With the chances of a COVID-19 vaccine being available soon increasing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the mobile technology will be used for mass inoculation against the pandemic. Speaking at the India Mobile Congress, he said mobile technology has enabled benefits worth billions of dollars to reach the deserving and also helped the poor and vulnerable during the pandemic.
"It is also with the help of mobile technology that we will embark on one of the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination drive," he said. He did not provide details.
Three leading coronavirus vaccine developers -- Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc and Bharat Biotech -- have applied for emergency use authorization in India.
While Pfizer India has applied to drug regulator for permission to import its experimental mRNA vaccine for sale and distribution without the requirement for local clinical trials, Serum Institute of India Ltd, AstraZeneca's India vaccine partner, has applied for emergency use authorisation using data from Phase-III trials that were conducted locally, as well as in Brazil and the UK.
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has sought nod Covaxin which is being indigenously developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The applications mean that a mass vaccine effort could be shortly underway in a nation that has the world's second-largest coronavirus caseload.
At the IMC, Modi said, "We need to work together to ensure a timely roll-out of 5G to leapfrog into the future and empower millions of Indians." He also pitched for making India a global hub for telecom equipment, design, development and manufacturing.
Speaking on mobile technology, he said it was because of this that the government was able to provide benefits worth billions of dollars to millions of Indians.
"It is because of mobile technology that we are seeing billions of cashless transactions which boost formalisation and transparency. It is because of mobile technology that we will enable smooth contactless interface on toll booths," he said.