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Vaccine for priority groups without location bias: Health Ministry

Vaccine for priority groups without location bias: Health Ministry
New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) Refuting the rumours surrounding the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine administration, the Union Health Ministry clarified on Tuesday that the vaccine would be available to all without any location bias.

The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan refuted the rumours that the vaccine administration would be prioritised for the population living in metropolitan cities before disembarking to Tier II and further categories of towns.

"The government does not discriminate between metro and non-metro cities/towns or the need of vaccine administration on the basis of geographical location. We would provide the vaccine to all priority groups first, irrespective of region or location," he clarified in a press conference.

"Whenever regulatory approvals for vaccine administration are provided, we have a plan which would ensure that the vaccine reaches all priority population groups irrespective of the region they reside in," Bhushan added.

Meanwhile, he also stated that the government is in touch with all vaccine manufacturers, including foreign manufacturers, after US-based pharma company Pfizer Inc reported 90 per cent effectiveness of its vaccine candidate.

On Monday, Pfizer Inc and German biotech company BioNTech had announced that their mRNA-based Covid vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, demonstrated efficacy of 90 per cent in preventing Covid-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis.

"The national expert group on Covid vaccine administration is in dialogue with all the vaccine manufacturers, including domestic and foreign manufacturers. We look at the status of development of their vaccines and also at regulatory approvals where they have progressed," Bhushan said.

He also informed that the Centre is engaged in discussions regarding logistical requirements of the vaccines if they are required to be stored at temperature as low as minus 90-degree Celsius.

"We are in a position to not only augment and strengthen, but also add to our cold chain capabilities," he added.

As per estimates, India has more than 28,000 cold chain points, 700 plus refrigerator vans and more than 70,000 vaccinators to assist in vaccine administration. The Health Ministry had earlier told that these have been utilised under the universal immunisation programme and would aid in administration of Covid vaccination as well.



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