NEW DELHI: Even as the government is gearing up for Covid vaccine rollout, the vaccine development and its distribution would be examined in detail by a parliamentary panel. The parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare, led by Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav, has decided to examine vaccine development, distribution management and mitigation of Covid-19 pandemic. The decision to look at vaccine development comes at a time when serious questions have been raised over emergency use authorisation given to Bharat Biotech’s indigenous vaccine Covaxin before Phase III trials have been completed. A BJP MP, who is a member of the parliamentary committee and did not wish to be identified, told ET, “There were discussions among members in the last meeting that Covid vaccines are being developed and whether protocols needed to be examined.” When contacted by ET, Yadav refused to comment saying, “I cannot talk about the issue till the committee wraps up the discussions and a report is finalised. It is a question of parliamentary privilege.” Sources said that the panel would examine in detail the issues surrounding emergency use approval, vaccine development, how the time has been reduced in developing a vaccine, how priority groups have been finalised, cold chain development for equitable distribution of Covid vaccine. Apart from calling health ministry, Indian Council of Medical Research and other government agencies, the panel could also call the private developers involved in vaccine development. The timing of the decision is crucial as the topic has been chosen for detailed examination as soon as Yadav, an Opposition party MP, took over as chairman of the departmental standing committee on December 23.
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