Health Care

Expert panel recommends Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' for emergency use

Expert panel recommends Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' for emergency use”

The data is being collated by Our World in Data website which is a collaboration between Oxford University and an educational charity. Both vaccine candidates have to be administered in two doses and must be stored at 2-8° C. "COVISHIELD, India's first COVID-19 vaccine, is approved, safe, effective and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks".

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday said COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to people in the national capital for free once it arrives, and asserted that the city government has made preparations for the vaccination drive.

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is seen in Wolverhampton, Britain Dec. 14, 2020.

The recommendations from the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, the apex regulatory authority for drugs and vaccines, imply India could use two vaccines for its planned campaign to initially vaccinate around 300 million people. More than 75 lakh beneficiaries have been registered on the Co-WIN platform, which will provide real-time information on vaccine stocks, their storage temperature, and individual beneficiaries of the shots, Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday. Priority is being given to the over-60s, health workers and people who are clinically vulnerable. It will be offered to one crore healthcare workers, along with 2 crore frontline and essential workers and 27 crore elderly above the age of 50 years most of whom have comorbidities.

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"Every effort should be made to give them the same vaccine, but where this is not possible it is better to give a second dose of another vaccine than not at all", she said.

The SEC, which earlier had sought additional safety, immunogenicity and efficacy data from SII and Bharat Biotech, deliberated on their applications seeking emergency use authorisation (EUA) for their shots on Wednesday, and met again on Friday to review the matter.

The company has completed only two of three trial phases and the third, which tests for efficacy, began testing in mid-November.

While India is only second to the United States for the number of cases, its rate of infection has come down significantly from a mid-September peak of 90,000 plus cases daily and its fatality rate is lower than other badly affected countries. The release said that the panel that approved the vaccines had recommended to have more options for vaccinations "in public interest as an abundant precaution".

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