New Delhi: At this time of coronavirus when researchers are busy developing a vaccine for the deadly disease, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said he was confident that the COVID-19 vaccine would be ready in the next three-four months. He further added that the priority to provide the vaccine to 135 crore Indians would be based on scientific evaluation. Also Read - Vaccine Strategy to be Chalked Out Soon, States Must Start Working on Cold Storage Facilities: PM Modi

“Our scientists are well-ahead of others in terms of research around vaccine development. We’re in a position that I can confidently tell Indians that in a couple of months from now, we should be able to deliver a vaccine,” Vardhan said. Also Read - COVID-19: With 44,000 New Infections, India's Total Cases Surge to 91.39 Lakh

He further added that the priority for the vaccine will be designed on the basis of scientific data and healthcare workers and corona warriors will naturally be prioritised followed by elderly and disease-prone people.

He appreciated the efforts of the Central government and said some ‘very bold steps’ were taken to fight the pandemic in the last few months.

“Janta curfew was a very innovative and unique experiment by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It had nationwide participation from the citizens. The decision to impose a lockdown followed by unlocking were some bold decisions by the central government during the pandemic. We have handled it very well,” he added.

The minister said one can protect oneself from this deadly virus with small precautions like wearing a good quality mask properly, maintaining social distance and taking care of hand-hygiene.

India’s coronavirus caseload mounted to 89,58,483 on Thursday with 45,576 infections being reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,31,578 with 585 new fatalities.

The phase-3 trial of the Oxford vaccine of the Serum Institute is almost near completion, while the phase-3 clinical trial of the indigenously-developed vaccine candidate of the Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has already started.