India / COVID-19 vaccine dry run to be conducted by all states on January 2: Govt

Zoom News : Dec 31, 2020, 04:36 PM
New Delhi: A dry run for Covid vaccine will be held in all states on Saturday, January 2, the government said as authorities hinted that approval for a vaccine could be around the corner. Today, the Union Health Secretary chaired a high-level meeting with all states and Union Territories. This is the second dry run being conducted in the country -- the first was held on December 28 and 29 in four states and had gone off without a hitch, the health ministry said. 

The dry run will happen at selective places in each state, sources said. The process, in which participants receive dummy Covid vaccines, is meant to test the mechanisms and reveal possible gaps in the system ahead of the actual vaccination drive.

On Tuesday, the health ministry said the two-day mock drill showed India is ready to start inoculation. "All the four participating states are satisfied with systems put in place for COVID-19 vaccination process," the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The countrywide dry run comes amid anticipation of a launch of a vaccine in the New Year. Today, the country's Drugs Controller General Dr VG Somani said, "Probably we will have a new year with something in hand".

The assurance came ahead of a crucial meeting of the expert panel on emergency use vaccine authorization set for tomorrow. The panel is examining applications from three firms – the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer.

Of these, the 'Covishield' -- developed by Oxford University and Pharma major AstraZeneca – that's being manufactured by Serum Institute is seen as a frontrunner.

Pfizer is yet to present its data to the regulator and the indigenous applicant, Bharat Biotech, which is partnering the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its 'Covaxin', has not completed recruitment for its Phase 3 trial.