Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday announced that the country is developing seven more Covid-19 vaccines and added that other groups of citizens apart from healthcare and frontline workers will soon start receiving the jabs.
Speaking on the decision to release the Coronavirus vaccines in the open market, he said the Centre does not have any immediate plan to make the vaccines available to the public as of now.
The coronavirus vaccination drive for people aged above 50 will start in March, he told reporters.
"We are not dependent only on the two vaccines as the country is working on seven more indigenous vaccines,” he said.
Three of the vaccines are in the trial phase, two are in the pre-clinical stage, one is in phase 1 and another in phase 2, the Union health minister added.
"The Covid-19 inoculation process for people above 50 years of age will start next month," he said.
"Presently, Covid-19 vaccines are being administered on an emergency basis, under full observation and in a controlled manner. If the vaccines are released in the open market, there won't be any control over them. Further decision will be taken as the situation demands," he added.
Two Covid-19 vaccines Covishield and Covaxin are being administered to healthcare and the frontline workers at the moment, as part of phase 1 of the vaccination drive.
Covishield, AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, has been developed by the University of Oxford.
Covaxin is India's first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology (NIV).
With PTI Inputs