Prime Minister Narendra Modi will to chair a virtual meeting with chief ministers and other representatives of states and Union Territories on November 24 to discuss India’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy and recent resurgence in cases, news reports suggest.
It was earlier reported that emergency authorisation of vaccines would be discussed with the states. This comes at a time when multiple drug makers have announced positive results from clinical trials for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
According to a report by NDTV, PM Modi is also expected to discuss with states the cause for the recent surge in daily COVID-19 cases and the countermeasures they have planned.
The meeting, which begins at 10.30 am, will be conducted in two parts. In the first part, PM Modi will interact with the chief ministers of the eight worst-affected states and Union Territories. In the second part, he will discuss vaccine delivery with the chief ministers and Lt. Governors of all the states and UTs.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be among the chief ministers who will participate in the meeting.
The prime minister has held multiple virtual conferences with chief ministers since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.
As of November 23, India’s COVID-19 tally stood at 91.3 lakh with 44,059 more cases being reported in the previous 24-hour period. While 85.6 lakh patients have recovered, the death toll from the infectious disease has mounted to 1.3 lakh.
While the number of new cases being reported in India on a daily basis has remained under the 50,000-mark for some time now, multiple states have recently reported resurgence in infections. A spike in urban centres has led to enforcement of additional measures including curfews in some cities.
The central government has already deputed high-level teams to Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh to support those states in their COVID-19 response and management.
The Centre and the states have been working on a mechanism for quick and effective distribution of vaccine as soon as they are available for usage. As many as five vaccine COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which four are in phase-2/3 and one is in phase-1/2 clinical trials.
On November 20, PM Modi had held a meeting to review India’s vaccination strategy. Issues like prioritisation of population groups and technology platform for rolling out vaccines were discussed.
In a tweet, the prime minister had said that important issues related to the progress of vaccine development, regulatory approvals and procurement had been discussed in the meeting.
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