On Friday, India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) approved the emergence use of Covishield vaccine amidst the rising cases of Coronavirus infection. The major development will mark the rollout of the vaccination programme in India.
As per reports, India has become the third country after Britain and Argentina to approve Covishield vaccine for emergency usage. Covishield is developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. It must be pointed out that the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India (SII), has been entrusted with the responsibility to manufacture the vaccine in India. Reportedly, SII has stockpiled over 5 crore doses of Covishield vaccine and can begin transporting the vaccines from cold storage to the Indian States, starting this Saturday.
Moreover, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had reportedly informed Inda Today that Covishield vaccine will cost $6 (₹440) per individual if purchased from government stores. However, the vaccine will be priced higher (₹700-₹800) if bought from private markets. Each dose of the vaccine, as targeted by WHO and most international aid organisations, is to cost around 3 dollars.
While speaking about the development, AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria informed, “This is very good news that AstraZeneca got approval for its vaccine by UK regulatory authorities. They have robust data and in India and the same vaccine is being developed by the Serum Institute of India. This is a big step forward not only for India but many parts of the world”
Citing sources, Indian Express informed that the locally-developed Coronavirus vaccine by Bharat Biotech may too receive approval from the government. On Wednesday, the vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer Inc has asked for additional time to provide data to support its emergency use.
Covishield was granted emergency approval for usage in The UK on December 30.
Healthcare workers to get vaccinated first
As per reports, the government had decided to provide Coronavirus vaccine shots to the healthcare workers on priority, including doctors, paramedics, nurses and hospital staff. After the healthcare workers, the frontline workers would be next in the line. It was decided in a meeting between the Ministry of Health Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and all state governments’ representatives.
The government has made it clear that there will be no mass vaccination program at first. It will be done on a priority basis, starting with the healthcare workers then frontline workers followed by the people living in hot zone regions. Once all these areas are covered, the rest of the population will be vaccinated. Earlier, the government had made it clear that the vaccination program will be on a voluntary basis, and no one will be forced to take it.