The National Expert Group on vaccine administration on Wednesday decided the Centre would handle procurement of the drug for Covid-19. “The committee also advised all the states not to chart separate pathways of procurement,” a statement by the health ministry said.

The expert panel announced that it will set up digital infrastructure to track potential vaccines processes “with particular focus on last-mile delivery”.

The decisions were made during the first meeting of the panel, headed by Niti Aayog member (Health) VK Paul, along with health ministry secretary Rajesh Bhushan and other health experts. The committee was constituted by the Union health ministry on August 11 to oversee the process of vaccine development.

The group members discussed broad parameters guiding the selection of Covid-19 vaccine candidates for the country and sought inputs from the standing technical sub-committee of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization. They also deliberated on the financial resources required for procurement of a vaccine for the coronavirus and various options of financing the same, the health ministry said.

Besides this, the experts discussed the maintenance of a cold chain during distribution and storage to “ensure vaccine viability, inventory, resource mobilisation, and ensuring equitable access”. They also held discussions on measures to ensure equitable and transparent delivery and to involve the community in creating awareness, once a vaccine is available.

The expert group decided that India will leverage domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity and will also engage with all international players for early delivery of vaccines not only in India but also in low and middle income countries.

India on Thursday reported nearly 67,000 new cases in 24 hours, taking the overall tally of the country to 23,96,637. The toll rose by 942 to 47,033. As many as 56,383 more people have recovered, taking the total number of discharged cases to 16,95,982.

Follow live updates on the pandemic here

Also read:

  1. A coronavirus vaccine may need a booster. What does this mean?
  2. What’s needed for immunity from Covid-19 – and do Indians stand a better chance?