Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Saturday schedule has been centered around reviewing the vaccine development for Covid-19 taking place in various labs across the country. The first visit in the morning was to Zydus Cadila’s plant near Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The other two plants that will hold a reception for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to physically review the vaccine development are Pune’s Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s facility in Hyderabad.
Zydus plant is working on ZyCoV-D vaccine. pic.twitter.com/JPv9LQ3pGG
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) November 28, 2020
A Consistence Focus on Vaccine Front
If anyone think that the PM is visiting these plants at the final stage of development, then they are missing the evolution of this story ever since the pandemic hit.
Perhaps two approaches of PM Modi on the vaccine development front stand tall.
First, he put an assertive pitch before the global community that from whichever parts of the world that the vaccine may arrive, India with its pharma industry base is the only country that can produce it at the necesary scale and pave the way for affordable distribution among global citizens.
Second, PM Modi acted to ease the process of regulation, and brought in coordination among different stake-holders of the vaccine development system.
Bringing Coordination in Vaccine Development Effort
In early May of 2020, the Prime Minister held a review meeting on the issue of vaccine development for COVID-19. The basic roadmap and the approach were evident back then, as the press statement from the PMO said- “The review by the PM took note of the extraordinary coming together of academia, industry and government, combined with speedy but efficient regulatory process. The PM desired that such coordination and speed should be embedded into a standard operating procedure. He emphasized that what is possible in a crisis should be a part of our routine way of scientific functioning.”
Making Regulatory Process Speedy but Efficient
Very early in the development process, PM Modi came to the conclusion that there is a need to speed up the regulatory process for vaccine development without compromising on efficiency and safety.
Hindustan Times, in its report back in May 6, 2020, quoted an official saying “The prime minister underscored that we not only had to have the highest quality, ethical standards but also the highest speed.”
In fact, this particular approach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been appreciated by the domestic vaccine developers back then.
The CEO of Serum institute was asked in an interview with the ETNow channel about the reasons for him reducing the expected date of production for the vaccine, considering the fact that any vaccine typically takes a year to be materialized.
The CEO answered that the longer timeframe for vaccines is also due to the regulatory clearances one needs to take from the government at various steps. He said that the Narendra Modi government is working swiftly, especially in times of Corona crisis, to ensure that his company is getting the required approvals in quick time. He said that institutions like ICMR and the experts involved in the process have been spending all their time to rapidly go through the procedures and promptly verify the data they provide to enable quick decision making.
#IDD | Catch @adarpoonawalla of @SerumInstIndia discussing the possibility of a #Covid_19 #vaccine in the market by October @TamannaInamdar #IndiaFightsCOVID19 #CoronavirusPandemic https://t.co/av3FXm6I8a
— ET NOW (@ETNOWlive) April 27, 2020
Now, About Distribution of Vaccine
As PM Modi is taking stock of the vaccine development for COVID-19 in three laboratories in different Indian cities, his government has already evolved a rough framework with regards to the vaccine distribution mechanism as well.