India can help in bringing the world out of the coronavirus crisis with mass vaccine distribution once all trials are completed successfully, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today in his virtual address to the United Nations General Assembly or UNGA. He asked the UN to do more in the fight against the pandemic.
"As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today," PM Modi said. "India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis," he said.
He said India was moving ahead with Phase-3 clinical trials - the large-scale trials considered the gold standard for determining safety and efficacy - and would help all countries enhance their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of vaccines.
"India's vaccine production and capacity will help the world overcome this pandemic. India sent medical supplies to over 150 countries during the coronavirus crisis," PM Modi said.
The UNGA this year is being held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In his Independence Day speech last month, PM Modi had said three vaccines are in different stages of testing. "When scientists give the go-ahead, we are ready with a plan for production. How the vaccine will reach every Indian in the least amount of time - we have a roadmap ready for that," PM Modi had said.
The government plans to use the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) - which was introduced in India in 1978 to cover all districts in a phased manner - to distribute the vaccine.
Some vaccine candidates being tested across the country include Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN and Zydus Cadila's drug. Covishield is another vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and pharma giant AstraZeneca, which is being tested by Serum Institute of India.
During his address to the UNGA, PM Modi also made a strongest pitch yet for a more prominent India role in the UN Security Council, asking the global body, "Till when do we have to wait? Till when will India be kept away from the UN's decision-making process?"
India has recorded more than 5.8 million cases of COVID-19, second only behind the US. The number of dead in India as of this week was more than 90,000 and it has consistently reported the highest tally of daily cases anywhere in the world.