- "People will get vaccine manufactured in India," PM Modi said
- India has seen a drop in Covid cases in the last few weeks
- PM Modi, however, said "people should not let their guards down"
Preparations for administering the coronavirus vaccine on Indians are in the last stages, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, a day after government-appointed experts reviewed the emergency-use applications filed by three drugmakers.
"Preparations are in last stages for the vaccination programme against COVID-19. People will get vaccine manufactured in India," PM Modi said, laying the foundation stone for an All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Gujarat's Rajkot.
Though the number of new coronavirus cases are decreasing in the country, people should not let their guard down and strictly follow coronavirus safety measures even after vaccination, he said.
"I used to say 'jab tak dawai nahi dhilai nahi' (No let up till vaccination) but now our mantra for 2021 should be: Dawai bhi, kadaai bhi (yes to medicine and yes to caution)," PM Modi said.
Applications for the emergency-use approval for the coronavirus vaccines filed by the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer were taken up for consideration by a government-appointed panel of experts on Wednesday.
Serum Institute which is making the vaccine 'Covishield' developed by Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech which has partnered the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its 'Covaxin' made presentations before the panel. Pfizer has sought more time to present their data.
The analysis of the data is ongoing and the panel will meet again on Friday, a government statement said.
Once the vaccines are cleared by the expert panel, the applications will move to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for final approval. The government wants to start administering the shots starting next month.
India, which has the world's second-highest number of COVID-19 infections in the world after the United States, plans to inoculate 30 crore people in the next six to eight months and the affordable Oxford vaccine is its biggest hope.
Though the government has not yet signed a purchase agreement with Serum Institute, the company says it will focus on its home market first, and then exports, mainly to South Asian countries and Africa.