The government seems to be in two minds on the timeline for COVID-19 vaccines. While the Ministry of Science and Technology, contrary to Centre's stance, affirmed in an article that a vaccine for mass use is unlikely before 2021, central government's Press Information Bureau chose to omit this information while carrying the same write-up on its portal, reported Bussiness Today.
On July 4, Vigyan Prasar, the science communication wing under the Ministry of Science and Technology, published an article titled 'Indigenous Indian COVID19 vaccines in the global race to end the pandemic'. A sentence in this article stated that any of the COVID vaccines that are under development across the world, including India, are unlikely to be available for mass use before 2021.
The paragraph titled 'Vaccine race' in the Vigyan Prasar article read: "Parallelly Indian institutions have also engaged in R&D for the development of vaccines in India. With the primary scientific inputs coming from institutions like Pune-based ICMR institution National Institute of Virology and Hyderabad based CSIR institution Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, six Indian companies are working on a vaccine for COVID-19. Along with the two Indian vaccines, COVAXIN and ZyCov-D, the world over, 11 out of 140 vaccine candidates have entered the human trials. None of these vaccines is unlikely to be ready for mass use before 2021."
The Press Information Bureau carried the same article at 3:21 pm on July 5, Sunday. Curiously, within hours, the last sentence of this paragraph - which caught media attention immediately - was edited out from the article.