DCGI likely to grant emergency use approval for Covid-19 vaccines today

DCGI likely to grant emergency use approval for Covid-19 vaccines today

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is expected to make some big announcement on Covid-19 vaccination in India during a press conference scheduled on Sunday, 11 am. Speculations are on that the announcement by the drug controller watchdog may include approval of the emergency use of two vaccines –– Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin–– after the expert panel of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recommended them for emergency use.

On January 1, Covishield was recommended for emergency use whereas Covaxin was recommended for restricted use on January 2. Now. a final approval by DCGI on the use of both vaccines is awaited.

On Saturday, select hospitals across the country conducted an inoculation dry run. The nationwide rehearsal was to understand the best way to administer the vaccine and plug loopholes in logistics and training. India, which has more than one crore three lakh cases of infection, will conduct the largest vaccination drive in the world.

While reviewing the dry run in Delhi’s GTB hospital on Saturday, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the vaccines would be administered free of cost to priority groups in the first phase on India’s inoculation drive. This includes one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers. Vardhan said the details of the second phase, in July, which will include vaccines for 27 crore more beneficiaries, is being worked out.

He also said the government would not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. He appealed to people not to be misguided by rumours regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines. “Vaccine hesitancy was an issue even when we started the polio immunisation drive. We must remember its success,” Vardhan said. “I appeal to the people not to be misguided by rumours regarding safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccine. We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine.

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