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Govt making all efforts for COVID vaccine, cold chain logistics needs to be strengthened: Experts

New Delhi: The government is making all efforts to support and promote development of vaccine for COVID-19, but there is a need to strengthen cold chain logistics and remove vaccine hesitancy, experts said on Wednesday. Currently in India, there are more than 30 groups both from academia and industry, which are actively involved in development ofCOVID-19vaccines.

There are six vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials, out of which four are developed indigenously, Department of Biotechnology Scientist and Adviser Asha Sharma said.

“The government is facilitating the capacity enhancement for strengthening the ecosystem across the country to promote and support vaccine development,” she said while participating in the discussion on ‘Economics and Logistics of a Vaccine Response’ at the CII Partnership Summit 2020.

In order to strengthen the ecosystem, 11 good clinical practices compliant clinical trial sights have also been established across the country, Sharma said.

The government is making purposeful and integrated efforts to support and promote vaccine development for COVID-19, she added.

IHH Healthcare Berhad Group Head of Operations and Integration Ashok Bajpai said India has a very good existing infrastructure of administration of mass doses but cold chain logistics requires to be strengthened.

“I am not worried about the physical process of distribution and administration. I actually worry about the cold chain logistics and loss of efficacy of the vaccine as we distribute it into the heartland of the country, where we have relatively poor infrastructure,” he added.

Sanofi Pasteur, India Country Head Annapurna Das emphasised on the need for information, education and communication especially in these times.

She however highlighted that India has a good blueprint in terms of cold chain and healthcare workers capacity and that the entire framework is quite digitally enabled.

There is a need for community education information programme to remove the vaccine hesitancy, as it is a reality and also minimising vaccine wastage, she added.

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