"As far as the intention of the government is considered, the Finance Minister, in her Budget speech, promised to keep Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination... she said that if there is a need the government might consider (increasing) it further", Harsh Vardhan said. "In another two or three weeks we will start the process of giving the vaccines to the third major group - the group constituting 26 crore (people) who are above the age of 50". "We are hopeful that we will be able to offer newer vaccines to India in the coming months", Vardhan said.
The UAE has administered 5.005 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, official news agency WAM reported on Saturday.
With India supplying the COVID-19 vaccine to several countries, the minister said about 20-25 nations will avail the vaccine, he added.
He also sought to dispel rumours surrounding the vaccines by saying that vaccines in the public domain are "safe and effective". He said that no new coronavirus infections were reported in 188 districts in the country during the last seven days. "It is crucial that people continue to follow COVID appropriate behaviour which I had called social vaccine, along with real vaccines", he added.
On Jan. 3, India's health authorities authorised two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, including the Covishield vaccine, developed by United Kingdom drugmaker AstraZeneca and Oxford University and produced by Serum Institute of India, and Covaxin, developed by Indian biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech.
Vardhan also hailed the Union Budget 2021 and said that it provides for investments in "preventive and promotive health care".
At a press conference on Budget allocation for the health sector, he said ₹35,000 crore had been allocated for vaccination. We turned a crisis into opportunity. "Our holistic approach, ancient medical wisdom, other health facilities & systems collectively will make a model emulatable for the world". "Genome sequencing, which is being talked about now, has been in Indian labs since May-June a year ago".