Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said any vaccine against coronavirus that is administered to citizens will meet all necessary scientific criteria and stressed that governments at all levels will have to work together to ensure that the vaccination drive is smooth, systematic and sustained.
Interacting with the chief ministers and other representatives of states and Union Territories, Modi said the vaccine research has reached almost the final stages and the government was closely monitoring the development process, while maintaining contacts with all stakeholders.
The modalities of COVID-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration were discussed during the meeting.
"It is not yet decided whether there will be one, two or three doses of vaccine. Their prices are also not decided. We don't have answers to such questions right now as there are different people in the world making it. The corporate world is involved, there is competition among them, countries have their diplomatic interests, have to wait for World Health Organisation also," Modi said.
He asked the chief ministers to ensure regular monitoring of the state level steering committee and state and district level taskforces to ensure better results, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on the meeting.
Prime Minister Modi forewarned that past experience tells several myths and rumours are spread around vaccines, according to the statement.
Noting that rumours about side effects of the vaccine may be spread, he emphasised that such attempts need to be tackled through spreading greater awareness, by taking all possible help including of civil society, National Cadet Corps cadre and National Service Scheme and the media.
The prime minister reassured that the government is keeping a close watch on the development of vaccines and is in contact with Indian developers and manufacturers, along with global regulators, governments of other countries, multilateral institutions and international companies.
It will be ensured that the vaccine for citizens meets all necessary scientific criteria, Modi said, asserting that both speed and safety was the focus of vaccine development.
He underlined that just like the focus in the fight against COVID-19 has been on saving each and every life, the priority will be to ensure that the vaccine reaches everyone.
Governments at all levels will have to work together with coordination as a team to ensure that the vaccination drive is smooth, systematic and sustained, he said.
Prime Minister Modi noted that the priority of vaccination is being decided in consultation with the states.
The requirements of additional cold chain storages have also been discussed with the states and they must start working in that direction, he said.
Asserting that India has a lot more experience than many other countries when it comes to vaccines, he said whichever vaccine India administers will pass all scientific parameters and procedures.
The prime minister also urged states to send their detailed plans on vaccine administration, underlining that a final vaccine distribution strategy will be chalked out in collective coordination with states.
Five vaccines are under different phases of clinical trial in India with the Serum Institute of India conducting phase-3 trial of the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine while the indigenously developed Bharat Biotech and ICMR vaccine has already started the phase III clinical trial.
Indigenously-developed vaccine by Zydus Cadila has completed phase -2 clinical trial in the country.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories will soon start combined phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India.
Biological E Ltd has started early phase 1 and 2 human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.