COVID-19 vaccine will be free across India, says Dr Harsh Vardhan
New Delhi, Jan 02: As the country is witnessing mass dry run across all the states and UTs and gearing up for the world's largest immunisation drive, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday that Covid-19 vaccine will be provided free of cost across the country.
While reviewing preparations for vaccine dry run in Delhi the Minister said to reporters, "Not just in Delhi, it (vaccine) will be free across the country."
Dr Vardhan also urged the public not to pay heed to anti-vaccine rumours saying I want to appeal to people to not believe in any rumors. Our prime criteria in the vaccine trial is the safety and efficacy and nothing will be compromised... Different kinds of rumours were also spread during polio immunisation, but people took the vaccine and now India is polio-free."
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On asking about the vaccine drill he said, "feedbacks received after the dry run in 4 states were included in guidelines for vaccination and today's dry run in all states/UTs is being conducted as per new guidelines. Except for giving actual vaccine, every procedure is being followed during the drill."
A day after Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine got emergency use approval by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC), the mass dry run is being conducted in all states and union territories to test the linkages between planning and implementation as India prepares to roll out the vaccine for Phase 1 immunisation in the coming days.
Serum Institute of India (SII) is manufacturing the Oxford-AztraZeneca vaccine doses for India and other countries while Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech had applied for emergency use authorisation for its Covaxin shot.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has asked Bharat Biotech to expedite volunteer recruitment for the ongoing clinical trial and recommended it may conduct interim efficacy analysis for further consideration of restricted emergency use approval for Covaxin.