Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, interacted and answered questions posed by his social media followers on the Sunday Samvad platform. These questions covered many queries concerning the current situation of COVID-19 and the Government’s approach to it.
Dr. Vardhan informed that while no date had been fixed for the vaccine launch, it might be out by the first quarter of 2021. He stated that the Government is taking full precautions in conducting the human trials of the vaccine. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Vinod Kumar Paul, Member of National Institution for Transforming India Aayog, is working on a detailed strategy to immunize the majority of the population. He assured that the vaccine would be first made available to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity.
Further, Dr. Vardhan said that the Government is considering emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccination, especially in older adults and people working in high-risk settings. To allay fears regarding the vaccines’ safety aspect, he said that he would be happy to take the vaccine’s first dosage if some people have a trust deficit.
Dr. Vardhan also noted that a safe and effective vaccine would help establish immunity to COVID-19 faster than natural infection. It is being hoped that a consensus would emerge in the next few months about the expected level of protective herd immunity in any community, he stated.