Healthy people might have to wait till 2022 to get COVID-19 vaccine as health workers and those with a higher risk of contracting the infection will be prioritised, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
Addressing an online question and answer session, WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said there would be at least one effective vaccine by 2021 but it would be available 'only in limited quantities'.
"Most people agree, it's starting with healthcare workers, and frontline workers, but even there, you need to define which of them are at highest risk, and then the elderly, and so on," Swaminathan said on prioritising who gets the vaccine first.
"There will be a lot of guidance coming out, but I think an average person, a healthy young person might have to wait until 2022 to get a vaccine," she said.
She said no one has produced these vaccines in the volumes that are going to be needed.
"So in 2021 we will have vaccines but they will be in limited quantities so we worked on a framework that how the countries will prioritise on whom to give those vaccines," she said.
"People tend to think that on the first of January or the first of April, I'm going to get the vaccine, and then things will be back to normal. It's not going to work like that," Swaminathan added.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday said that India is expected to have a COVID-19 vaccine from more than one source by early next year and the government is formulating distribution strategies for the immunisation of people across the country.
He had also said the Centre estimates to receive and utilise 40-50 crore doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, covering 20-25 crore people, by July next year.
On Sunday, the minister said considering the large population size of India, one vaccine or vaccine manufacturer will not be able to fulfil the requirements of vaccinating the entire country and added that the government is open to assessing the feasibility of introducing several COVID-19 vaccines in the country in accordance with their availability.
Apollo Hospitals Group says ready to administer 1 mn COVID-19 vaccines a day
Leading healthcare provider Apollo Hospitals Group on Thursday said it is prepared to administer 1 million COVID-19 vaccines daily to augment and support the government efforts to fight the pandemic.
The group will work with the government in tandem to make sure that the largest number of people get the vaccine safe and fast, Apollo Hospitals Group Executive Vice-Chairperson Shobana Kamineni said in a virtual media conference.
"Apollo Hospitals have been strengthening its vaccine cold chain for supply and gearing up all Apollo facilities for efficient and fast administration with the highest safety standards, for 1 million doses per day," she added.
The group has the capability and has trained 10,000 professionals which will be stationed in all the group's pharmacies, clinics, in hospitals across the country, Kamineni said.
"Almost 30 per cent of India is 30 minutes away from an Apollo facility. Every facility will have the capability and the professionals to administer a vaccine based on the government's directive," she added.
The group has also built up the largest cold chain network and distribution system to be able to safely transport and store this vaccine in the temperatures that are required, Kamineni said.
The group's cold chain can deliver this vaccine in every part of the country within either 30 minutes or maximum two days, she added.
"As the entire country awaits a vaccine for the deadly infectious disease, one of the major challenges will be around safe and orderly delivery of doses, for the population of 1.3 billion Indians, especially the vulnerable," Kamineni said.
India is expected to have a COVID-19 vaccine from more than one source by early next year and the government is formulating distribution strategies for the immunisation of people across the country, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said.
Going forward, it will be the Apollo Hospitals Group's privilege to work with all governments, governmental agencies and healthcare networks to ensure that a large number of people get the vaccine, quickly and safely as it becomes available, Kamineni added.
The group will leverage its pan India web of 19 medicine supply hubs with cold chain facilities and use it's 70 hospitals, over 400 clinics, 500 corporate health centers, 4,000 pharmacies alongside omni-channel digital platform Apollo 24'7 to ensure massive administration capacity of COVID-19 vaccines, Apollo Hospitals Group said in a statement.