India can inoculate Covid-19 vaccine among priority groups by June 2021 next year, if it continues with same pace while carrying out testing to detect the infection, Fitch Solution has said. Its prediction is based on the premise that India was conducting 1 million coronavirus tests each day.
“India’s role in the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be significant both as a recipient of the medicine as well as a producer,” Fitch said in a report quoted by PTI. India, it said, has one of the largest vaccine manufacturing capacities in the world (including the largest vaccine producer “ Serum Institute India, SII) and has secured authorisation to mass-produce the AstraZeneca, Novavax andÂ Gamaleya Research Institute vaccines.
With a population of 130 crore (and 9.4 crore over 65-year-olds), the domestic vaccination drive will be the largest in the world. “The country has a good track record of such drives with masses of the population regularly gaining inoculation for various diseases such as polio and cholera,” it said. India’s vaccine rollout will likely to begin in first quarter of 2021 (January to March), with frontline healthcare workers and individuals over the age of 50 years gaining priority.
Fitch said the government aims to vaccinate some 25 crore people over six-to-eight months, which is “a lofty goal”. “However, if India can quickly ramp up vaccinations to roughly the same level as the 1 million (10 lakh) COVID-19 tests it conducts each day, then we expect coverage across priority groups can be achieved by June 2021,” it said.
Risks to this outlook include the sheer scale of the project and with relatively weak institutions and healthcare infrastructure, these challenges could result in a slower rollout than expected, it added. Access to COVID-19 vaccines is set to vary significantly across Asia depending on the advance purchase agreements a given country has reached with vaccine developers.
(With PTI inputs)