NEW DELHI: The Union health secretary and the ICMR DG deposed before a parliamentary panel on health on Tuesday to brief its members on the development and distribution of the coronavirus vaccine and answer their queries.
According to the listed agenda of the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, the health secretary and the director general (DG) of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) briefed the panel on “Vaccine Development, Distribution Management and Mitigation of Pandemic COVID-19”.
The committee is chaired by Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Ram Gopal Yadav.
The meeting of the panel is being held days before the start of the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16 in what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the world’s largest inoculation programme.
In this drive, priority will be given to the nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the country.
India has recently approved two COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford’s Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in the country, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — for restricted emergency use.
According to the COVID-19 Vaccine Operational Guidelines, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers and around two crore frontline workers, and then to people above 50 years of age, followed by those below 50 years of age with associated comorbidities, based on the evolving pandemic situation.
Meanwhile, the first consignment of the Covishield vaccine reached Delhi from Pune on Tuesday, four days ahead of the launch of the nationwide vaccination drive.
A SpiceJet aircraft carrying the vaccines landed at the Delhi airport around 10 am.