India approves Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

India has approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, paving the way for a huge immunization campaign in the world’s second most populous country, by Diramakini Reporter (Agencies).
A test tube labelled vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. (Photo Dado Ruvic/ Reuters).

The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Prakash Javadekar, said on Saturday that the vaccine had been given the green light on Friday.

It is the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved for emergency use by India, which has the highest number of infections after the US. 

New Delhi has completed a full dry run as India prepares to deliver 50million doses of the Oxford vaccine that it has manufactured and stockpiled. 

Experts at the country's drugs regulator have recommended for emergency use two coronavirus vaccines, one developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and the other backed by a state-run institute, the government said today. 

SII, the world's biggest producer of vaccines, has already stockpiled about 50million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford shot, which will be sold to the government at about 250 rupees (£2.50) per dose and 1,000 rupees on the private market. 

India's government plans to inoculate 300million people in total in the first phase of the vaccination programme, which will include healthcare and front-line workers, police and military troops and over-50s with underlying medical conditions. 

The country's superior manufacturing capacity means it has been able to produce far more of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine in advance. 

India has confirmed more than 10.3million coronavirus cases, second in the world to the United States. More than 149,000 people have died in India, third behind the US (347,000) and Brazil (195,000).

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