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India may start Covid vaccination in January: Harsh Vardhan

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New Delhi, Dec 21: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said that India may begin vaccinating people for COVID-19 in January.

"I personally feel may be in January in any stage or any week, there can be a time when we can be in a position to give first Covid vaccine shot to the people of India," Harsh Vardhan told news agency ANI in an interview.

Harsh Vardhan

"India is not less than any country when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine and research. Our priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. We do not want any compromise on that. Our regulators are analysing them with seriousness," he said.

However, health ministry has said that vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. It is advisable to receive the complete schedule of the vaccine for protecting one-self against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.

Six vaccines- one developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR, second one developed by Zydus Cadila, third one by Gennova, Oxford vaccine, trial of which is conducted by Serum Institute of India, Sputnik V vaccine which is being manufactured by Dr Reddy's Lab, Hyderabad, in collaboration with Russia's Gamaleya National Centre and the sixth one manufactured by Biological E Ltd, Hyderabad, in collaboration with MIT, USA are undergoing clinical trials in India.

On whether a vaccine will be safe as it is being tested and introduced in a short span of time and what can be the possible side-effects, the ministry said vaccines will be introduced in the country only after the regulatory bodies clear it based on its safety and efficacy.

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