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PM Modi chairs all-party meet to discuss COVID-19 situation, vaccine strategy

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New Delhi, Dec 04: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India's vaccination programme against COVID-19 would begin as soon as a go-ahead from scientists is given, and asserted that healthcare workers involved in treating coronavirus patients, frontline workers and old people suffering from serious conditions would be inoculated on priority.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In his closing remarks at an all-party meeting with leaders of various political parties to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country, Modi said experts believe the wait for the COVID-19 vaccine will not be long and it may be ready in a few weeks.

The meeting comes on the close heels after the prime minister held a virtual meeting with chief ministers of states that have seen a surge in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

Nearly eight vaccines are at different stages of trial with their manufacturing assured in India, Modi said.

World is watching India on cheapest, safe vaccine, says PM Modi

Three vaccines from India are also at different stages of trial, he said.

Experts believe that the wait for COVID-19 vaccine will not be long and it is believed that it may be ready in the next few weeks, Modi said.

"India's vaccination drive would begin as soon as we get a go-ahead from scientists. The Centre is working on the basis of suggestions from state governments about who will be inoculated in the first phase of the vaccination drive," he said.

"Priority in this (vaccination) will be given to the healthcare workers involved in treating COVID-19 patients, frontline workers and old people suffering from serious conditions," he said.

Central and state government teams are working in tandem for the distribution of the vaccine against COVID-19, Modi said, adding that India has expertise for vaccine distribution as well as capacity.

"Our scientists are very confident of succeeding in their endeavour of developing a vaccine against COVID-19. There are names of vaccines from different countries doing the rounds in the market, but the world is keeping a watch on having the cheapest and safest vaccine. That is why, it is natural that the world is watching India," he said.

Public health will be top priority as far as COVID-19 vaccine pricing is concerned and states will be fully involved in the process, he said.

In his remarks, Modi also said, "We must make sure rumours are not spread during vaccination, rumours that are anti-national and anti-human. Thus, all political parties must make sure that we save all Indians from such rumours and spread awareness."

The meeting also assumes significance as it is being held after Modi's visit to pharmaceutical companies in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review coronavirus vaccine development work there.

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