The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India has been cleared by a government-appointed panel, sources have said, adding it will be sent for approval to the regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
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.
The two groups had made presentations before the panel on Wednesday. Pfizer had sought more time to present their data.
The centre is looking to start giving vaccine shots from this month, once the vaccine is cleared for a final time by the DCGI.
A dry run for vaccination is scheduled in all the states tomorrow.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will monitor and analyse the dry run in the national capital. “The preparations are like general elections, where even the booth-level preparations are made. The purpose of the dry run is to be ready for the actual rollout… Potential recipients of vaccine will be informed via SMS. Frontline workers are the priority. After inoculation, digital certificate will also be provided,” the health Minister said.
The expert panel recommending the affordable Oxford vaccine to the drugs regulator is a big leap for India on the first day of the new year, as the country has the second-biggest number of COVID-19 infections after the US. The government plans to vaccinate 30 crore people in India in six to eight months.
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