India orders 10 million more shots of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: Report
- Bharat Biotech has supplied 5.5 million doses of Covaxin to India and will sell 4.5 million more
- Covaxin has also been found effective against the UK strain of coronavirus in a study
- The AstraZeneca vaccine offers minimal protection against South African coronavirus variant
India has ordered 10 million more doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, saying it has no concerns over the efficacy of the vaccine although South Africa has put it on hold. This came after researchers found out that the AstraZeneca vaccine offers minimal protection against the South African coronavirus variant that is dominant in the country but it has not been reported in India yet.
The second-worst hit country by COVID-19, India, launched its mass immunisation drive against coronavirus, the world's largest, on January 16 and has vaccinated around 6.3 million frontline workers.
One of India's top vaccine official, Vinod Kumar Paul on Tuesday said that the nation's vaccination programme is "robust and valid" and adding, "I assure you that we are going ahead with it, not worried at the moment."
He said the authorities will "intensify" their surveillance and watch other developments "in due course."
India has approved two COVID-19 vaccine, one indigenously produced by Bharat Biotech, while another by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) that has licensed the vaccine from AstraZeneca-Oxford University, and is marketing it as Covishield.
Earlier, India had ordered 11 million doses of Covishield, now, it ordered 10 million more, an SII spokesperson said, quoted Reuters.
The Pune-based institute has agreed to sell at least 100 million doses to the Centre at a discounted price of Rs 200 each.
India's drug regulator has said Covishield is 72% effective against the COVID-19 disease, according to the data based on late-stage done abroad.
Another vaccine approved in India, Bharat Biotech has supplied 5.5 million shots of Covaxin to the Centre and is selling 4.5 million more, reports Reuters quoting a spokeswoman. The Bharat Biotech vaccine has also been found, after a study on 26 participants, effective against the UK strain of coronavirus, reports Reuters.
India is aiming to inoculate 300 million people against coronavirus by August, including the elderly and those with existing conditions by March, reports Reuters. The nation has reported 10.85 million cases of COVID-19 with over 155,000 deaths. However, India is witnessing a decline in daily new cases since September.