India is ready to mass produce Covid-19 vaccines when scientists give the go-ahead, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day speech on Saturday, also launching a national project to roll out health identities for each citizen.
In annual celebrations scaled down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi identified health and economic self-reliance as the key priorities for his government.
"Not one, not two, as many as three coronavirus vaccines are being tested in India," he said from the Red Fort in the old quarters of Delhi, wearing a flowing orange and white turban and covering his mouth and nose with a scarf of the same colours whenever anyone came close to him at the ceremony.
"Along with mass-production, the roadmap for distribution of vaccine to every single Indian in the least possible time is also ready," Modi said. "The country is also ready for mass production of those vaccines."
With an increase of about 65,000 cases in 24 hours, India's Covid-19 tally crossed the 25-lakh mark on Saturday. Close to 1,000 deaths were also reported within a day. There are now total 25,26,196 cases in the country, including 6,68,220 active cases, 18,08,937 discharged/migrated and 49,036 deaths.
Launching a National Digital Health Mission for the country of 1.3 billion, Modi said in his seventh Independence Day speech that records of every health test, disease, medication and other details will be kept under a health ID.
"Technology will be judiciously used to reduce challenges in treatments," he said. "Whether it is making a doctor's appointment, depositing money or running around for documents in the hospital, the mission will help remove all such challenges."
At its core, the NDHM seeks to create a health informatics organisation and a digital ecosystem for health services in the country for citizens, health professionals, public hospitals as well as institutions in the private sector. The NDHM will be an executing body for the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) which aims to, among other things, create a state-of-the-art digital health system for managing core digital health data and the infrastructure required for its seamless exchange.