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COVID-19 vaccination must be affordable, universal, says PM Modi


New Delhi, Jun 30: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reviewed India's preparations for vaccinating its vast population against COVID-19 once a vaccine is available and enunciated four guiding principles for it, including ensuring affordable and universal vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination must be affordable, universal, says PM Modi

Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review planning and preparations for vaccination against the novel coronavirus. "An important subject that was discussed was the creation of a tech platform that would complement vaccination at scale across the nation," the prime minister tweeted.

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At the meeting, the current status of vaccine development efforts were also reviewed and the prime minister highlighted India's commitment to play an enabling role in the vaccination efforts against COVID-19, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement.

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    Prime Minister Modi noted that vaccination of India's vast and diverse population will need to factor in issues, including those related to management of medical supply chains, prioritisation of at-risk populations, coordination between different agencies involved in the process, as well as the role of private sector and civil society, it said.

    The prime minister enunciated four guiding principles that will form the foundation of this national effort, the PMO said. He stated that vulnerable groups should be identified and prioritised for early vaccination, for example doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, non-medical frontline COVID-19 warriors, and vulnerable people among the general population.

    Another guiding principle enunciated by the prime minister was vaccination of "anyone, anywhere" should take place without imposition of any domicile related restrictions for getting the vaccine. The third principle enunciated by the prime minister was that vaccination must be affordable and universal and no person should be left behind, according to the PMO.

    According to the fourth principle, the entire process from production to vaccination should be monitored and supported in real time with the use of technology. Prime Minister Modi directed officials to evaluate in a broad manner the available technology options which can form the backbone of the national endeavour to vaccinate all in the most efficient and timely manner. The prime minister directed that detailed planning for such large scale vaccination should be undertaken immediately.

    In a significant development on Monday, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech said the country's 'first' indigenous COVID-19 vaccine COVAXIN, developed by it in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology, has got nod for human clinical trials from the Drug Controller General of India. The Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, approved after pre-clinical studies demonstrated safety and immune response, would start across the country next month.

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