The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India will be sent for approval to the regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) by a government-appointed panel of experts.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) is making the vaccine Covishield developed by Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca, while Bharat Biotech has partnered with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its Covaxin.
Pfizer had sought more time to present their data to the panel of experts.
The Centre is looking to start giving vaccine shots from this month, once the vaccine is cleared for a final time by the DCGI.
Meanwhile, with the objective to gear up for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine across the country, the dry run will be conducted by all the States and UT governments from today.
According to Union Health Ministry, the objective of the dry run for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to “assess operational feasibility in the use of COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) application in field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation”. This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels, it said.
India added 20,035 coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, placing its overall number at 1.02 crore cases, the Health Ministry’s data showed. The number of fresh infections is 8 per cent lower than on Thursday. In this period, India reported 256 deaths linked to the virus, taking the total number of fatalities to 1,48,994.
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The French government on Friday announced it is bringing forward its nighttime curfew by two hours in 15 regions to help combat the coronavirus, as infections remain high.
The 15 of France’s 101 departments affected by the switch from Saturday, to a curfew beginning at 6:00 pm rather than 8:00 pm, include the Les Alpes-Maritimes department where the Mediterranean city of Nice is located.
The other areas are concentrated in the east of the country.
Paris has, for now, been spared the additional restriction.
“The virus is continuing to spread in France… but with a disparity between regions,” said government spokesman Gabriel Attal as he announced the move.
“If the situation were to deteriorate further in certain areas, we will take the necessary decisions,” he told TF1 broadcaster.
Britain reactivated emergency hospitals built at the start of the pandemic and shut primary schools in London on Friday to counter the rapid spread of a much more infectious variant of the coronavirus.
With more than 50,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 for the last four days, the health service said it was preparing for an anticipated rush of patients and needed more beds.
The announcement comes just days after the Royal London Hospital told staff in an email it was now in “disaster medicine mode” and unable to provide high standard critical care.
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