India Approves Two COVID Vaccines

On Friday 1st January, an expert panel on Covid-19 of the CDSCO recommended that permission should be granted for restricted emergency use of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield in India.

India has formally approved the emergency use of two coronavirus vaccines which means that the vaccine will not be given to everyone but be given to healthcare workers and to patients who have a dangerous medical condition. 

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave the green light to vaccines developed by AstraZeneca Oxford University and Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech. DCGI said that both the manufacturers had submitted data showing their vaccines were safe to use and after verification, they were approved. 

India has recorded more than 10.3 million confirmed cases to date and nearly 1,50,000 people have died. India plans to inoculate about 300 million people on a priority this year.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is being manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India. SII said that it is producing more than 50 million doses a month. Their vaccine is called ‘Covishield’ would be administered in two doses given between four and 12 weeks apart. It can be safely stored at temperatures of 2C to 8C, about the same as a domestic fridge. This makes it easier to distribute this vaccine compared to other vaccines. The vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech must be stored at -70C and is very difficult to transport. 

Bharat Biotech’s covid vaccine named ‘Covaxin’ will also be given in two doses. 

On Saturday 2nd January India held nationwide drills to prepare more than 90,000 health care workers to administer vaccines across the country.