12:44 GMT11 July 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India is the second most populous country in the world and faces the challenge of efficiently conducting a vaccination programme among its highly diverse population.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Tuesday to review preparations and planning for a vaccination programme once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

    The high-level meeting comes a day after India's first COVID-19 vaccine candidate, COVAXIN, secured approval to enter clinical trials.

    The prime minister discussed a plan that stipulates that vulnerable groups, which include health care workers, should be identified and prioritized for early vaccination.

    He also emphasised that there would be no domicile-related restrictions for getting a vaccine and said that the vaccine must be affordable and accessible through the use of technology.

    The prime minister invited suggestions for available technology options which could be deployed to support the programme.

    India's first vaccine candidate developed by biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology, will start conducting Phase I and II clinical trials after the pre-clinical studies showed "promising results" and "effective" immune responses.

    The Serum Institute of India has already reached a licensing agreement with AstraZeneca to produce a vaccine which is currently undergoing trials at the University of Oxford.


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