Covid vaccine may be available in India by January 2021, but with challenges: AIIMS Director

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All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria said an effective Covid-19 vaccine can be expected in India by January 2021 if everything goes as planned.

Speaking during a session of the India Today Healthgiri Awards 2020, Guleria admitted that it is hard to say when a vaccine will be available in the country and that it depends on a lot of factors – from the ongoing trials to the effectiveness of the vaccine against Covid-19 infections.

If all things go as planned, the vaccine could be available in the market by early next year, said the AIIMS director. However, Guleria made it clear that the initial availability of doses will not be enough for the entire population in the country.

“If everything goes as planned, it can be hoped that a vaccine will be available in the market by early next year (January 2021) to some extent,” Guleria said.

Highlighting the next big challenge after the vaccine is ready, Guleria said, “The second challenge after the vaccine is deemed effective is production and distribution on such a large scale.”

When asked how the Covid vaccine will be distributed among Indians considering the shortfall, the AIIMS director said discussions on the matter have already started and indicated that “vaccine prioritisation” model will be followed.

Explaining the model, Guleria said those groups with the highest risks will be prioritised over others.

“There are two groups that will be prioritised. Those who have a higher risk of infection including healthcare workers and other corona warriors. And those who have higher chances of mortality,” Guleria said.

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