As India's COVID-19 tally continues to rise, some reassuring news has come in from the Health Ministry. Speaking during his 'Sunday Samvaad' live interaction, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the government felt that vaccines would become available to around 25 crore people by July 2021.
"There is a high-level expert body going into all aspects of vaccines. Our rough estimate and the target would be to receive and utilise 400 to 500 million doses covering approximately 25 crore people by July 2021," he said. He also said that the Centre was "working round the clock" to ensure that there is a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready.
India's COVID-19 tally has now crossed the 65-lakh mark even as the death toll crossed one lakh. As per health ministry data on Sunday morning, there are presently 9,37,625 active cases.
Harsh Vardhan's words also come in the wake of news reports that suggest the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may be cleared by health regulators by the end of this year. The vaccine candidate is currently leading the race and according to a report in The Times quoting British government sources, might take even less time.
"We are looking at closer to six months and it is likely to be far shorter than that," one such source said.
(With inputs from agencies)