In the coming two to three months, India would be all set to roll out more COVID-19 vaccines other than the two in use now, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday. The country had not seen a single vaccine-related death so far and negligible rate of hospitalisation following vaccination, he added.
At a press conference on Budget allocation for the health sector, he said ₹35,000 crore had been allocated for vaccination.
“We have anywhere between 18-19 vaccination candidates currently under various stages of development, and we are hopeful that we will be able to offer newer vaccines to India and the people of the world. India is also set to start vaccination for those over 50 years of age soon,’’ he stated.
So far, 80-85% health and front line workers have been vaccinated but now more than ever before it was crucial that people continued to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, “which I call social vaccine, along with real vaccines”, the Minister said.
In the Budget, provision had been made to ensure that India invested in preventive and promotive health care and remained prepared for unexpected health calamities.
“COVID-19 has strengthened the country’s health potential. We turned a crisis into opportunity. From one lab, India has grown to 2,500 diagnostic labs, and genome sequencing, which is being talked about now, has been in Indian labs since May-June last year,’’ he noted.
“Through this Budget, we have brought in the dream of ‘Health for All’. Our holistic approach, ancient medical wisdom, other health facilities and systems collectively will be a model for the world,” he added.