India’s health regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has granted permission to two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, for “restricted use” in an emergency situation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covishield has been developed by Oxford University scientists in collaboration with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. In India, its trial was undertaken by the Serum Institute of India, which is also manufacturing the Covishield vaccine. Covaxin has been developed by the vaccine developer Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

India will soon embark on what is potentially the world’s largest vaccination drive, with the government initially aiming to vaccinate a 30-crore “priority population” by July. These include frontline health workers, essential duty personnel and vulnerable sections of the population.

“For a country like India, we need a vaccine urgently and I am glad that we will start the New Year with a vaccine. Thanks to the power of science & technology, we have developed the vaccines at warp speed and now we need to start deploying vaccines in each and every part of the world. In this, India has given a nod to its first vaccines. We have been in a state of preparedness for quite some time now and we have run mock drills in many states and I think the prioritization of our population in terms of vaccine deployment has also been worked out so I do hope that it is going to be a more than efficient process.

“While granting ‘emergency use authorization’ to these vaccines. the regulator would have taken into consideration the safety and efficacy aspects. Also, India as a country is very familiar with large scale immunization programs. So I feel very confident that we will be able to deploy these vaccines in a very efficient way,” she said in an interview to a news channel.

We need to get to a million doses a day in terms of our immunisation program. The vaccinations will have to be ramped up gradually, so we will have to see how fast we can do that,” she added.

Listen to Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s views on the priorities for India and how the nation can overcome some of the challenges as it gears up to kick-start what could be the world’s largest anti-COVID-19 vaccine drive.

Listen to NDTV 24X7 interview here: https://youtu.be/32yPZjUt1Fs

Listen to CNN News 18 interview here: https://twitter.com/CNNnews18/status/1344980568610467840?s=09

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