New Delhi: With hopes high for 400 to 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in India, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday chaired a meeting with a group of ministers in Delhi to discuss the status of a cure for the viral infection in the country as well as internationally. Also Read - Cristiano Ronaldo Under Investigation For Breaking COVID-19 Rules After Testing Positive

“Keeping a close pace with the potential availability of vaccines, a plan of action on which sections are to be given priority has been discussed. Importantly, it would be monitored through a scientific approach,” the health minister told ANI. Also Read - Say Goodbye to 'Maskne' With These DIY Skincare Tips

“For this, strategies that have been adopted by the world be it Centre for Disease Control, the United States are being studied continuously. Digital platforms are also being prepared for the same,” he noted. Also Read - COVID-19: India Records Lowest Daily Spike in Cases in Three Months, Recovery Rate Goes Beyond 90% | 10 Points

Earlier, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria had said that the vaccine for COVID-19 can be expected in India by January 2021 if all goes as per the plan.

Notably, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, headed by Dr VK Paul, has been tasked by the Centre to strategically chalk out the plan on how the vaccine, once available, will be distributed in the country. According to Paul, the vaccine will be first distributed among those who need it the most and the listing of healthcare workers will be completed by the end of October or early November.

A comprehensive study on “the priority sections of the population that would have initial access to the vaccine drawing upon recommendations of CDC, USA and the WHO” was presented during Tuesday’s meeting. According to Dr Paul, the vaccine will be first distributed among those who need it the most, followed by a listing of healthcare workers which will be completed by the end of October or early November.

“The eVIN network which can track the latest vaccine stock position, temperature at storage facility, geo-tag health centres, and maintain facility level dashboard is being repurposed for the delivery of COVID vaccine,” the ministry further stated.

A total of three vaccine candidates are currently at different stages of clinical trial in India. Covaxin – the first indigenous vaccine candidate – is being developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited along with Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology. It is currently in Phase II human trials in the country.`