Presenting a detailed summary of the proactive, preemptive, graded, whole of government and society approach to the COVID-19 pandemic undertaken by India, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Effective planning and strategic management has enabled India to keep its cases per million at 7,078 against the global average of 8,883. The fatality rate is 1.45%, well below the global average of 2.29%.”
He then proceeded to inform the audience of the vaccine distribution expertise, production and storage capacity of India along with the presence of an experienced and vast network of professionals to streamline COVID vaccination. He stated, “India’s world-class research institutes have spearheaded the campaign against COVID-19 and are currently working towards facilitating capacity building for producing, distributing & administering the vaccine. 260 vaccine candidates are in different stages of development globally. Out of these, 8 are scheduled to be manufactured in India, including 3 indigenous ones. We have enthusiastically leveraged the support of international partners like Oxford University, UK, and Thomas Jefferson University, USA, for vaccine research with Indian entities, both public and private.”
Reminding everyone of the strong political commitment of Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi who has been personally supervising the vaccine production by visiting the manufacturing facilities of pharmaceutical companies engaged in the production of vaccines, encouraging the scientists at the helm and catalyzing the process, he said, “It is expected that the vaccine will be available in the coming few weeks and the vaccination process will kickstart in India as soon as it is approved by the concerned regulatory agency. With stringent oversight, we are ensuring, that there is no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, stretching from the safety of the trials to the efficacy of the vaccines.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan also detailed how leveraging the existing digital interventions of India’s Mission Indradhanushimmunization programs, India is building the advanced CO-WIN digital platform which will allow citizens to self-register for vaccination, monitor their status and be provided with a QR code-based electronic vaccination certificate upon completion of the process. He added that the government has analyzed the present requirement of vaccines and is working towards augmenting capacities, healthcare infrastructure & workforce.
The Minister concluded his speech by honouring the courage & sacrifice of numerous corona warriors across the globe who have been at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.