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New Delhi : National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 met for the first time on August 12, 2020. The meeting was chaired by Dr V K Paul, Member, Niti Aayog, along with Secretary (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) as co-Chair.

The expert group deliberated on conceptualisation and implementation mechanisms for creation of a digital infrastructure for inventory management and delivery mechanism of the vaccine including tracking of vaccination process with particular focus on last mile delivery. They discussed broad parameters guiding the selection of COVID-19 vaccine candidates for the country and sought inputs from Standing Technical Sub-Committee of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). The group delved on the procurement mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccine including both indigenous and international manufacturing along with guiding principles for prioritisation of population groups for vaccination.

The expert group discussed the financial resources required for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine and various options of financing the same. Available options in terms of delivery platforms, cold chain, and associated infrastructure for rollout of COVID-19 vaccination were also taken up. Further, strategy and follow-up action on all possible scenarios to ensure equitable and transparent delivery of vaccine was deliberated upon. Issues related to vaccine safety and surveillance were taken up and strategy for community involvement through transparent information and awareness creation were discussed.

India’s support to its key neighbours and development partner countries for COVID-19 vaccine was  also discussed. The expert group discussed that India will leverage domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity and will also engage with all international players for early delivery of vaccine not only in India but also in low and middle income countries, according to a PIB release. The Committee advised all the States not to chart separate pathways of procurement.