Why the world is looking at India for coronavirus vaccine rollout

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi Published: Dec 04, 2020, 10.11 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in India Photograph:( AFP )

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The world will be watching India closely because if it accomplishes its mission to ensure cheap and safe vaccines for all then several countries could reach out to New Delhi for help.

The United Kingdom has approved a vaccine with the rollout beginning on Monday. Russia is already giving shots to its citizens - but selectively.

The United States wants to start inoculating its citizens before Christmas.

As the world gears up for the vaccines, India has kicked off its own preparations. For the first time today, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined India's vaccine strategy.

The priorities for India include preparations and the plan for mass inoculation. The Indian prime minister believes India won't have to wait for long. The vaccine could be ready within weeks.

Prime Minister Modi had visited three vaccine manufacturers last week. The Indian prime minister informed different political leaders about India's preparations and said Indians could get a vaccine within weeks.

"Experts believe that we will not have to wait for the coronavirus vaccine for long. It is believed that in the next few weeks the vaccine will be ready. As soon as we get a green signal from the scientists, the vaccination program will start in India," the Indian prime minister said.

"The Indian scientists are very confident of succeeding; their confidence level is very high. Now we are hearing about the names of several vaccines of other countries in the market but still, the world is keeping a watch on cheaper and the safest vaccine and because of this, it is natural the world is keeping a watch on India as well," PM Modi added.

There are eight vaccine candidates that are on India's radar. They are on different stages of trials and the vaccines can be manufactured in India. There are three vaccine candidates that are made in India. It this means they are being developed in India.

The vaccines are in different stages of trials with the rollout now barely weeks away, India too is laying down a list of priority. The healthcare workers like several other countries will be first to get the shots in India with 10 million health workers first in line to get the vaccine followed by 20 million frontline workers which include police and armed forces personnel and municipal workers among others.

270 million senior citizens will be eligible for the jab too. Those with serious health conditions are likely to be prioritized. A national expert group has been created which includes technical experts as well as officials from the central and the state government.

This group will shoulder the responsibility of India's vaccine campaign. The focus is on vaccines that will be cheap and safe. It is what the world needs to defeat the Wuhan virus. A small group of wealthy countries have already grabbed more than half of the potential doses in the world which includes countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada.

They have struck deals that ensure large enough supplies to vaccinate their entire populations with doses to spare. In comparison, an alliance of more than 150 countries has only managed to secure 700 million doses consisting of Covax the global alliance for equitable vaccine access that includes several poor countries.

The world will be watching India closely because if it accomplishes its mission to ensure cheap and safe vaccines for all then several countries could reach out to New Delhi for help.

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