Covaxin, the coronavirus vaccine from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, has been recommended for “restricted use in emergency situation in public interest” by a government-appointed panel, which submitted its findings to the Drugs Controller General of India on Saturday evening.
The DCGI will take the final call on approving of the vaccine. The national regulator is scheduled to address the media at 11 am Sunday.
The recommendation comes despite the lack of efficacy data at this time. Covaxin has completed only two of three trial phases; the third – which tests for efficacy and which the company has called “the largest… ever conducted in India” – began in November.
Free coronavirus vaccines will be given in the first phase to three crore people who have been on the frontline in the fight against the highly contagious disease, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said today. The government will give priority to 1 crore healthcare workers and 2 crore frontline workers when India begins the rollout of Covid vaccine.
“In 1st phase of #COVID19Vaccination free #vaccine shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that incl 1 crore healthcare & 2 crore frontline workers. Details of how further 27 cr priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised (sic),” Dr Harsh Vardhan tweeted on Saturday.
Overall coronavirus cases in India crossed the 1.03-crore mark on Saturday as the country recorded 19,079 fresh COVID-19 infections – 5 per cent lower than yesterday’s 20,035 – in the last 24 hours, government data shows. In the last 24 hours, 224 people also died of the highly infectious disease pushing the tally to 1,49,218.
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Mexican authorities said they are studying the case of a 32-year-old female doctor who was hospitalized after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
The doctor, whose name has not been released, was admitted to the intensive care unit of a public hospital in the northern state of Nuevo Leon after she experienced seizures, difficulty breathing and a skin rash.
“The initial diagnosis is encephalomyelitis,” the Health Ministry said in a statement released on Friday night. Encephalomyelitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
The ministry added that the doctor has a history of allergic reactions and said that there is no evidence from clinical trials that anyone has developed an inflammation of the brain after the vaccine’s application.
More than 800,000 people in Russia have been inoculated so far against the new coronavirus and more than 1.5 million vaccine doses have been dispatched, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday.
Russia, which began rolling out its Sputnik V vaccine in early December, has the world’s fourth higher number of COVID-19 cases and is putting high hopes on several vaccines it plans to produce.
From Jan. 1, people who are inoculated in Russia will get an electronic vaccination certificate, the TASS news agency quoted Murashko as saying. The ministry is keeping a database of Russians who have been vaccinated, TASS reported.
The Sputnik V vaccine, which Russia already started supplying to other countries, is administered in two doses, which use different components, 21 days apart.
Russia sent 300,000 doses of the vaccine to Argentina last week, causing frustration at home, with some people arguing that more shots should be made available at home.