First COVID-19 vaccine shots in India likely on January 13, says health secretary

Rahul M
·3 min read

The Indian government on Tuesday said that based on the feedback of the dry-run conducted recently, it is ready to introduce COVID-19 vaccine within 10 days from the date of emergency use authorisation, and the first shots are likely to be administered on January 13.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a press conference today that the active cases in the country are less than 2.5 lakh and are continuing to decline.

No ban on export of vaccines

Meanwhile, Balram Bhargava, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research has clarified that there is no ban on export of the COVID-19 vaccine by India.

The health secretary said that 44 percent of the active cases are in hospital with moderate or severe symptoms, while 56 percent of the cases are very mild or asymptomatic and are in home isolation.

There are 4 primary vaccine stores, called GMSD, located in Karnal, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and there are 37 vaccine stores in the country. They store vaccines in bulk and distribute further, Bhushan said.

“The facility including the number of vaccines stored and temperature trackers is monitored digitally. We have this facility for over a decade in the country,” he added.

Bhushan also said that healthcare workers and frontline workers would not need to register themselves as a beneficiary as their data is bulk database that has been populated on the Co-WIN vaccine delivery management system in a bulk manner.

In terms of new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2, we have not seen emergence of any untoward clusters in country as of now which is reassuring, the government has said.

He said that the daily number of deaths is less than 300 for 11 consecutive days while cumulative positivity rate is 5.87 per cent. The positivity rate during last week was 1.97 per cent, he said.

India still ranks among the lowest in the world in terms of active cases and deaths of per million population, with 167 active cases per million and 108 deaths per million.

India has reported only 96 new cases and 1 death per million population in the last seven days, he added.

India reported 16,375 new COVID-19 cases, 29,091 recoveries, and 201 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 1,03,56,845.

The total number of active cases stands at 2,31,036 while the total recoveries have reached 99,75,958. The death toll due to coronavirus has mounted to 1,49,850.

Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute declare truce, pledge for smooth rollout of COVID-19 vaccines

Meanwhile, in a great show of solidarity, the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech said they will work together to develop, manufacture and supply the COVID-19 vaccines in India and globally.

In a joint statement on behalf of the two companies, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla and Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella announced their combined intent to develop, manufacture and supply the COVID-19 vaccines for India and the world.

They noted that the most important task in front of them was saving lives and livelihoods in India and globally. Vaccines are global public health good and they have the power to save lives and accelerate the return to economic normalcy at the earliest.

Now that two COVID-19 vaccines have been issued EUA (emergency use authorisation) in India, the focus is on manufacturing, supply and distribution, such that population that need it the most receive high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines, the statement said.

With inputs from PTI, News18