With this approval, the number of Covid-19 vaccines which have received emergency use authorisation in the country has risen to eight
New Delhi: Expanding India’s vaccine basket, the Central Drug Authority has approved the Serum Institute of India’s Covid-19 vaccine Covovax, Biological E’s jab Corbevax and anti-Covid pill Molnupiravir for restricted use in emergency situations.
The announcement by Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday came a day after the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on Covid-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recommended granting emergency use authorisation (EUA) to the Covid-19 vaccines Covovax and Corbevax with certain conditions. It also recommended granting restricted emergency use approval to the drug Molnupiravir for treatment of adult patients with Covid-19 and who have a high risk of progression of the disease.
The Centre has also exempted senior citizens aged 60 years and above with co-morbidities from having to produce or submit any certificate from a doctor hospital at the time of administration of the “precaution” Covid-19 vaccine dose from January 10, 2022. Senior citizens with co-morbidities are only expected to obtain the advice of their doctor before deciding to avail of the third vaccine dose.
The government has also decided to provide precaution doses to all personnel deployed on election duty in the poll-bound states. The decision was taken at a virtual meeting held by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan with senior officials of the states and Union territories.
The eligibility of such beneficiaries for the precaution dose will, however, be based on the date of administration of the second dose as recorded in the Co-WIN system -- completion of nine months, or 39 weeks, from the date of administration of the second dose. The CoWIN app will also send reminder messages to all those eligible for the precaution dose, that will be reflected in the digital vaccination certificates.
India, meanwhile, logged over 670 Omicron cases, with Maharashtra and Delhi reporting 167 and 165 cases respectively. Kerala has so far logged 64 cases, Telangana 62, Gujarat 49, Rajasthan 46, Tamil Nadu 34 and Karnataka 31 cases.
As far as Covid-19 cases is concerned, 6,358 new cases and 293 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the tally to over 34.8 million and the death toll to 480,290. While Mumbai had a high 1,377 cases, Delhi logged 496 cases in the same time span.
On the approval given to the new Covid-19 vaccines, the health minister tweeted: “Congratulations India. Further strengthening the fight against COVID-19, CDSCO, @MoHFW_INDIA has given 3 approvals in a single day for: - CORBEVAX vaccine - COVOVAX vaccine - Anti-viral drug Molnupiravir for restricted use in emergency situation”.
With this approval, the number of Covid-19 vaccines which have received emergency use authorisation in the country has risen to eight. Six Covid-19 vaccines -- Serum Institute’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D, Russia’s Sputnik V and the US-made Moderna and Johnson and Johnson -- had received the EUA from the Indian drug regulator earlier.
“Corbevax vaccine is India’s 1st indigenously developed RBD protein sub-unit vaccine against #COVID19, made by Hyderabad-based firm Biological-E. It’s a hat-trick! It’s now 3rd vaccine developed in India,” Mr Mandaviya said in another tweet. The nanoparticle vaccine Covovax will be manufactured by Pune-based firm Serum Institute of India, he said. “Molnupiravir, an antiviral drug, will now be manufactured in the country by 13 companies for restricted use under emergency situation for treatment of adult patients with Covid-19 and who have high risk of progression of the disease,” he added..
The minister said the approvals will further strengthen the global fight against the pandemic. “PM @NarendraModiJi has led the battle against #COVID19 from the front. All these approvals will further strengthen the global fight against the pandemic. Our pharma industries are an asset for the entire world.”
On the vaccination front, the health secretary has written to the states and UTs that only Covaxin is to be administered in the age group 15-18 years and that additional doses of the vaccine will be sent to all states and UTs. He said the supply schedule of Covaxin with all states and UTs will be shared in the next few days.
The states have also been told they have the option to designate some Covid vaccination centres for the 15-18 age group exclusively, which can also be reflected on Co-WIN. The health secretary said the dedicated CVCs would ensure that there is no confusion in administering the vaccines. For CVCs that are intended to serve all, the states have also been requested to ensure separate queues and vaccination teams for the 15-18 age group.