Expert panel okays Covishield, puts Covaxin on hold

Chennai: In a huge step towards controlling the spread of the Coronavirus, India on Friday saw an expert panel clearing the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, even as a dry run of the inoculation programme is to be carried out in the country today.

The vaccine will now be sent for approval to the regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

It may be noted that 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.

Speaking on the dry run, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, “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”.

 

NT Bureau