Speaking to news agency ANI, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that India could give the first COVID-19 vaccine inoculation to the public in the first week of January. "Our first priority has been safety and effectiveness of vaccines. We don't want to compromise on that. I personally feel, maybe in any week of January, we can be in position to give first COVID vaccine shot to the people of India," he said.
#WATCH | Our first priority has been safety & effectiveness of vaccines. We don't want to compromise on that. I personally feel, maybe in any week of January, we can be in position to give first COVID vaccine shot to people of India: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to ANI pic.twitter.com/PEtMgqptYJ— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2020
According to the news agency, the minister indicated that India will focus on developing its own vaccine and was moving towards atmanirbharta (self-reliance). "Our country is moving towards self-reliance and we are not less than any other country in the world in vaccine development and research," he said.
India has currently crossed the grim milestone of one crore COVID-19 cases even as the spread of the virus slows down with almost a month being taken for the 10 lakh new infections unlike in the period from August till mid-November when they rose at a faster rate.
According to the Union health ministry's data updated at 8am on Saturday, the total number of coronavirus cases stood at 1,00,04,599, while the recoveries surged to over 95.50 lakh.
India is in the number one position in terms of the number of recovered coronavirus cases, followed by Brazil, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which has been compiling global COVID-19 data.
India is the second worst-hit nation in terms of COVID-19 cases after the US, while it is in the third spot in terms of fatalities globally after the US and Brazil, according to the JHU data. The health ministry data showed there were 25,152 new infections in a span of 24 hours while the death toll stood at 1,45,136 with the virus claiming 347 more lives. The COVID-19 fatality rate has further declined to 1.45 per cent, it said.
There are 3,08,751 active cases in the country which constitute 3.08 per cent of the total caseload, according to the data.
-Inputs from agencies