Health minister Harsh Vardhan had said that India hopes to receive up to 500 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines by July next year to inoculate about 250 million people
India’s coronavirus infections rose by another 62,212 cases over the previous day and a local media report said on Saturday that the government had begun identifying about 300 million people who would be given the vaccine first when it is ready.
The Times of India said that frontline health and sanitation workers, police officials and elderly people with co-morbidities will get the vaccine on priority.
The plan, which is still in the draft stage, aims to cover 23% of the population in the first phase. The final plan is likely to be ready by end October-November, the report said.
The selected individuals will be given an estimated 600 million doses.
Earlier this month, health minister Harsh Vardhan had said that India hopes to receive up to 500 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by July next year to inoculate about 250 million people.
Officials have said that giving the vaccine to India’s 1.3 billion people will be a mammoth exercise, likely to stretch well into 2022.
India's cumulative tally of coronavirus infections stood at 7.43 million on Saturday, having risen by 62,212 in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed.
But the number of active infections slipped below 800,000 for the first time in 1.5 months, which the ministry called a significant achievement.
India has recorded the world's second-largest number of cases after the United States and worries have been high that there may be further spikes during the ongoing festival season.
Renewed approval for Russia
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd have received renewed approval to conduct late-stage clinical trials in India of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine, the sovereign wealth fund said on Saturday.
Large-scale trials of the Sputnik V vaccine in India were first announced and then knocked back by Indian regulators, who said the scale of Phase I and II trials conducted in Russia earlier this year was too small, requesting that they be repeated.
Following a new agreement, India will now carry out an adaptive phase II and III human clinical trial involving 1,500 participants, RDIF, which is marketing the vaccine abroad, said on Saturday.
Under the deal, Dr Reddy's will conduct the clinical trials and, subject to approval, distribute the finished vaccine in India. RDIF will supply 100 million doses to Dr Reddy's.
RDIF has reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the shot.
Russia has also reached an agreement with the biotechnology department of India's Science and Technology Ministry to use its laboratories as a base for the Indian clinical trial, the source said.