Stating that Bharat Biotech and Pune-based Serum Institute of India have sought nod for large scale vaccine distribution, Tope said, “The ball is in the Centre’s court. Once approval is given, states will be allocated to the companies to distribute their vaccines.”
He added that the state government has completed the preliminary task of training at least 16,000 medical staff for mass vaccination.
“They are ready to scale up the vaccination drive whenever the Centre permits. Cold chain required for transportation and storage of vaccine doses has also been put in place,” he told reporters.
Urging people not to panic over the new strain of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom, Tope assured that the National Institute of Virology, based out of Pune, is studying the variant, and will soon submit a report to the ICMR to form a fresh set of instructions.
“Medicines being used currently for treating Covid-19 patients will be used against the new strain of coronavirus as well,” he said.
“We have been told that the recently developed vaccines have some impact on the new strain of coronavirus as well,” he added.
Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in the country where more than 19 lakh cases have been reported so far. Recently, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced a night curfew until January 5, from 11 am to 6 pm daily, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus during the Christmas and New Year week, while also keeping in mind the threat of the mutant strain.