Amid speculations of approval for coronavirus vaccine in the country, Dr VG Somani, Drug Controller General of India, on Thursday hinted that it could come soon.

“Probably we will have a happy new year, with something in hand,” he said, while speaking at a webinar on the vaccine, Times Now reported.

Somani also said that the approval process for the vaccines was expedited by processing the applications quickly and allowing phase 1 and 2 trials simultaneously, without waiting for the complete data, reported the Hindustan Times. “There has been no compromise on the safety of efficacy of the data,” he clarified. “The only thing is that the regulator has accepted partial data.”

Meanwhile, the Subject Expert Committee under the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation is likely to meet on January 1 to consider the emergency-use authorisation application of three companies — Pfizer, Serum Institute of India, which will manufacture the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. On Wednesday too, reports suggested that the expert committee held a meeting on the same agenda.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that preparation for a coronavirus vaccine was in the last stages and that people will soon get vaccines manufactured in India.

While there has been no official confirmation on India’s vaccine programme, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said earlier this month that it is expected to begin by “any week” of January. The government has already identified 30 crore people, including healthcare workers and elderly people, who would receive the shot in the first phase of inoculation, Vardhan said.

On December 28 and 29, the Union health ministry also conducted dry run of the coronavirus vaccination drive will be conducted in two districts each of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab.

Follow today’s coronavirus updates here.