In a meeting of the National Expert Group on Wednesday, it was decided to build digital infrastructure which could take care of all aspects related to the Covid-19 vaccine starting from its procurement and last mile delivery to different sections of the population.
With the race of Covid-19 vaccine getting crowded with multiple leading candidates, the National Expert Group on vaccine administration is deliberating to modify the existing technology in the country to track the vaccines being developed around the world. In a meeting of the National Expert Group on Wednesday, it was decided to build digital infrastructure which could take care of all aspects related to the Covid-19 vaccine starting from its procurement and last mile delivery to different sections of the population. According to the sources quoted in an Indian Express report, discussions were also held on the issue of upgrading the eVIN (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network), a digital system that tracks the stocks of vaccines in the world.
In another significant decision, the Expert Group decided that the central government should take the lead in procurement of vaccines from different producers rather than states expending their precious time and money. A source quoted in the Express report said that the state governments must not invest their time and money in the procurement process and the centralised high power committee must do it for the whole country.
On the need of building a robust digital tracking system for the Covid-19 vaccine, the source said that the population to be covered by the vaccine will be very huge and therefore it would need an IT system that could track the movement and delivery of the vaccine starting from the procurement stage. The source also said that the temperature parameters and cold storage system for the vaccine doses will also have to be developed.
Among other key areas discussed on Wednesday, the Expert Group also said that the government is planning to leverage the huge manufacturing capabilities of the country in the large scale manufacturing of the vaccine. He also said that attempts would be made to contact the international organisations like WHO, GAVI(an international alliance for vaccines) etcetera to project India as a country which can not only produce vaccines for its huge population but for many other small and poor countries in the region.
As far as the financial projections of procuring the vaccines are concerned, the members of the Expert Group touched upon the issue but did not hold any detailed discussions as there are multiple vaccine candidates in the race and some of them are single dose and some multiple dose vaccines. The meeting on Wednesday was chaired by Dr V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog along with Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as its co chair. Specialists from other government departments including the Finance and External Affairs Ministry also participated in the meeting.