India sets up committee to oversee Covid-19 vaccine distribution: Report
New Delhi/IBNS: The Centre has formed an expert committee comprising members from the concerned ministries and institutions to look into all the aspects of Covid-19 vaccine plan as six vaccines are in the phase 3 or combined phase 2 and 3 trials and several countries are in the process of finalising deals with multiple vaccine makers.
The high level panel includes AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria, representatives of the ministries of external affairs, biotechnology, information technology, the Director General of Health services, India’s Aids Research Institute, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and also representatives from states, an HT report said.
The government has formed the committee to examine all things related to identification of the vaccine, to financing of the purchase, to buying, to distribution and administration, the report added.
The committee will be headed by Niti Aayog’s Dr VK Paul and co-chaired by health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, said the report, referring to people familiar with the development.
The panel will choose the vaccine or vaccines that India can use and plan the finance and prioritise the sequence of administration, the report said.
The Indian government has been planning to channelise its resources to set the stage for smooth supply and effective use of the vaccine, especially in remote areas like the northeast.
The HT report said the panel will "draft a financial plan, plan a budget and discuss how many can be raised for the mammoth exercise of procurement, distribution, administration, and finally prepare a strategy on inventory management, distribution, and administration."
All these have been under discussion over the past month across ministries and institutions, the report said.
The panel will decide how the vaccine or vaccines should be procured. Whether there should be a central procuring system directly under the supervision of the central government or whether foreign agencies should be involved or whether state governments will be allowed to procure on their own, the HT report added.
The government will work on this with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organisation, said the report, adding that India is already a beneficiary of the Covax programme of GAVI and will get enough supply of the vaccine to administer 20 per cent of its population.