PM Modi will also discuss the roll-out of the vaccine expected to be available by early 2021

In back-to-back meetings on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to review the ongoing pandemic situation in eight Indian states reporting the highest number of cases as well as discuss the vaccine roll-out programme in the country once it's ready.

PM Modi will discuss the COVID-19 situation with the Chief Ministers of Delhi, Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Haryana, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. These are the states and UTs reporting the highest number of cases on a daily basis. The meeting will be held virtually.

Amid the onset of winters, the COVID-19 situation in Delhi has worsened. The National Capital has been reporting the highest number of cases in the country regularly. In the past 24 hours, around 6,746 cases and 121 deaths were reported from Delhi.

Maharashtra reported around 5,753 cases and Kerala reported around 5,254 cases in the past 24 hours. West Bengal reported around 3,591 cases and Rajasthan reported 3,260 cases in the past 24 hours.

Haryana reported a total of 2279 cases and Chhattisgarh reported around 1,748 cases in the past 24 hours. Gujarat also reported around 1,495 cases in the past 24 hours.

PM Modi will also discuss the roll-out of the vaccine programmes in the states and UTs as India expects an effective vaccine to be available by early 2021.

In a meeting held on November 20, PM Modi reviewed the preparedness of COVID-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration. PM Modi later took to twitter to inform about the same.

He wrote, “Reviewed various issues like prioritisation of population groups, reaching out to HCWs, cold-chain Infrastructure augmentation, adding vaccinators and tech platform for vaccine roll-out.”

During the meeting, he said, important issues related to progress of vaccine development, regulatory approvals and procurement were discussed.

The government is currently preparing a database of healthcare and frontline workers, augmentation of cold chains and procurement of syringes and needles to administer the vaccine at the first available opportunity.

The digital platform for vaccine administration and distribution is ready and test runs are underway in partnership with the State and District Level stakeholders. PM Modi directed that a time-bound plan be laid out for speedy regulatory clearances and timely procurement for early rollout of the vaccination drive.

Speaking on vaccine development today, Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that once the vaccine is ready, the health workers, front line workers such as the police, paramilitary, sanitisation workers and people above 65 years in age will also be the first ones to get vaccinated in India.

Apart from that, vaccines will also be administered to people above 50 years of age and with comorbidity patients in the second group, he said.

As per government data, there are five vaccines in advanced stages of development in India. While four are in phase 2 and phase 3 trials, one is in phase 1 and phase 2 trials.

As the results of these Phase III trials from national and international vaccines arrive, the government’s robust and independent regulators will speedily and rigorously examine these for authorisation for use.

The vaccination supply chain is being enhanced and non-vaccine supplies are being escalated. Medical and nursing students and faculty will be involved in training and implementation of the vaccination programme, the government said in a statement.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) in consultation with State Governments and all relevant stakeholders has accelerated the implementation of vaccination of priority groups in the first phase.

The government has provided assistance of Rs 900 crore under Covid Suraksha Mission to support Research & Development of COVID-19 vaccination.

Meanwhile, countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar, Bhutan, Switzerland, Bahrain, Austria and South Korea are also showing interest in partnering for vaccine development with India.