New Delhi: The coronavirus vaccine is expected to be available in India by early next year, Union Health Minister Harsh Minister said on Sunday, adding that he will take the first dosage to dissipate any concern over its safety. Also Read - COVID-19: Stroke Patients With Coronavirus Have High Inflammation, Death Rate, Warn Researchers

The government is considering its emergency authorisation for high-risk patients, the minister said, amid the incessant surge of COVID-19 cases in the country. Also Read - Fact Check: Students to Get Rs 11,000 From Govt to Pay Their School & College Fees? Here’s The Truth Behind the Viral Claim

Noting that there is no fixed date for the launch of a vaccine, Dr Vardhan said “it may be ready by the first quarter of 2021”, and made available first to those who need it the most, “irrespective of their paying capacity”. Also Read - COVID-19: This New Model May Speed Drug Discovery For Coronavirus

Vardhan stated the government is taking full precautions in human trials of vaccines and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 under the Chairmanship of Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, is drawing up a detailed strategy on how to immunize the majority of the population.

“Issues like vaccine security, cost, equity, cold-chain requirements, production timelines etc., are also been discussed intensely,” he stated during an interaction with his social media followers on the Sunday Samvad’ platform.

The minister also noted that a safe and effective vaccine will help in establishing immunity to COVID-19 at a much faster pace as compared to the natural infection.

Earlier this week, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca suffered a minor setback during the clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate with trial sponsor the University of Oxford after a volunteer developed an adverse reaction.

Trials have resumed in the United Kingdom now following a confirmation by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) that the trials were safe.

However, Pune’s Serum Institute of India is still awaiting further orders from the DCGI to resume recruitment in phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the vaccine candidate.