The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 met for the first time on Wednesday to deliberate on logistics, procurement and administration of the coronavirus vaccine.
Three vaccine candidates are in different stages of human clinical trials in India -the Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by University of Oxford by Pune-based Serum Institute of India, the inactivated virus vaccine by Bharat Biotech and the DNA vaccine by Zydus Cadila.
In the meeting chaired by Niti Aayog Member, Dr. V K Paul, with Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan as co-chair, the group deliberated on conceptualisation and implementation mechanisms for creation of a digital infrastructure for inventory management and delivery mechanism of the vaccine, including tracking of vaccination process with particular focus on last mile delivery.
The committee has advised all the states not to chart separate pathways of procurement.
The group also deliberated on the procurement mechanisms for Covid-19 vaccine, including both indigenous and international manufacturing along with guiding principles for prioritisation of population groups for vaccination.
They discussed broad parameters guiding the selection of the Covid-19 vaccine candidates for the country and sought inputs from the Standing Technical Sub-Committee of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
Besides this, it also discussed the financial resources required for procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine and various options of financing the same. Available options in terms of delivery platforms, cold chain and associated infrastructure for roll out of Covid-19 vaccination were also taken up.
Further, strategy and follow-up action on all possible scenarios to ensure equitable and transparent delivery of vaccine was deliberated upon. Issues related to vaccine safety and surveillance were taken up and strategy for community involvement through transparent information and awareness creation were discussed.
India’s support to its key neighbours and development partner countries for Covid-19 vaccines was also taken up. The expert group discussed how India would leverage domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity and will also engage with all international players for early delivery of vaccines not only in India, but also in low- and middle-income countries.