India has officially approved the emergency use of two coronavirus vaccines ahead of what will be one of the world’s largest vaccine roll outs.
The drugs regulatory authority formally approved the vaccines, developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca and India’s indigenous firm, Bharat Biotech.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this was a “decisive turning point” in response to the approval.
Over the weekend, Modi took to social media to congratulate the efforts of scientists and innovators. He tweeted: “A decisive turning point to strengthen a spirited fight! DCGI granting approval to vaccines of @SerumInstIndia and @BharatBiotech accelerates the road to a healthier and COVID-free nation. Congratulations India. Congratulations to our hardworking scientists and innovators.”
A decisive turning point to strengthen a spirited fight!
Congratulations to our hardworking scientists and innovators.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 3, 2021
India plans to vaccinate some 300 million people on a priority list this year, reports the BBC. Adding, India has recorded the second-highest number of infections in the world, with more than 10.3 million confirmed cases to date. Nearly 150,000 people have died.
On Saturday, India held nationwide drills to prepare more than 90,000 health care workers to administer vaccines across the country, which has a population of 1.3 billion people.
The Drugs Controller General of India said both manufacturers had submitted data showing their vaccines were safe to use.
Taking to social media over the weekend, CEO and Owner, Serum Institute of India tweeted: “Happy new year, everyone! All the risks @SerumInstIndia took with stockpiling the vaccine, have finally paid off. COVISHIELD, India’s first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks.”
Thank you Hon. Sri @narendramodi Ji, Hon. Sri @drharshvardhan Ji, @MoHFW_INDIA @ICMRDELHI @DBTIndia #DCGI_India @UniofOxford @AstraZeneca @gavi @GaviSeth @gatesfoundation and @BillGates for your support
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) January 3, 2021
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is being manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. It says it is producing more than 50 million doses a month.
Find out more about Serum Institute of India here.