As the world waits for a Covid-19 vaccine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has organised a meeting of vaccine makers and national regulators in the South-East Asia region.
The region is a “vaccine manufacturing powerhouse” with “the quality and scale required to produce and roll-out a Covid-19 vaccine globally”, said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the regional director of WHO South-East Asia.
“It must now also play a lead role in overcoming the ongoing pandemic,” she said.
Countries like China and US are spearheading the global vaccine initiative, but South-East Asian nations aren’t far behind.
“At the virtual meeting, leading manufacturers from India, Indonesia and Thailand discussed timelines and production capacity, while regulatory bodies deliberated on adjustments that would be needed in processes to make Covid-19 vaccines available at the earliest,” a WHO statement read.
“India, Indonesia and Thailand are among the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers. Every day, millions of people of all ages are provided life-saving protection by vaccines produced in these three countries,” it said.
The UN body has emphasised the various steps to be completed before a Covid-19 vaccine can be used on a large scale, from trials to deployment, as well as plans for post-marketing surveillance.
Seven vaccine candidates are currently being tried on humans. (Read a detailed account here.)
The UN General Assembly recently adopted a resolution calling for “equitable, efficient and timely” access to any vaccine developed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“All countries are now preparing to safely transition towards a ‘new normal’ in which social and economic life can function amid low or no Covid-19 transmission,” Poonam Khetrapal Singh said.
“As countries continue to assess and minimise risks, they are very much aware that we are in this together and must get through it together — that no country is safe until we all are safe, for which an effective vaccine that is accessible to all is needed,” she said.
IndiaToday.in has plenty of useful resources that can help you better understand the coronavirus pandemic and protect yourself. Read our comprehensive guide (with information on how the virus spreads, precautions and symptoms), watch an expert debunk myths, check out our data analysis of cases in India, and access our dedicated coronavirus page.