Covishield and Covaxin: What’s next after Drug Controller’s approval?
In what is being hailed as a major landmark for both Make-in-India initiative and India’s continuous fight against Covid-19, the Drug Controller General of India on Sunday approved both Covishield and Covaxin for restricted emergency use. This approval means both these vaccines can be administered under several terms and conditions.
So, here’s what will happen next.
Government will procure, send to states, vaccination will begin
Dr Randeep Guleria, AIIMS director, has hoped that vaccination will begin soon now that DCGI has given its final nod to two vaccines. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday said vaccination in the state will take place around Makar Sankranti which is on January 14. So now, the Centre will procure the vaccines and will send to states according to their requirement.
It does not take long to start vaccination after a regulator gives the nod to a vaccine candidate. In this case, both vaccines are manufactured in India. So it will not take long to start vaccination.
Oxford vaccine primary, Bharat Biotech back-up
With two vaccines on the same footing, the next obvious question is whether the government will administer both the vaccines and if that happens, then how will it be decided that who gets which vaccine. Dr Guleria has said that as of now Oxford vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, will be used as the primary vaccine, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will be a back-up option. Bharat Biotech’s vaccine will be used in an emergency situation if there is a sudden increase in cases or in certain cases where Oxford vaccine’s efficacy is uncertain, Dr Guleria said.
What about Pfizer vaccine
Pfizer vaccine, which was the first official vaccine to get a go-ahead in the world, had applied for regulatory approval in India on December 4. But reports said it did not turn up for the deliberation and has sought some more time. This vaccine did not have any trial run in India.
Cadila vaccine next in line
Another indigenous vaccine is next on the line as Ahmedabad’s Zydus Cadila has received approval from the DCGI on Sunday to initiate phase three clinical trials of ZyCoV-D. ZyCoV-D was found to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in phase I and II clinical trials
Trials of Covaxin and Covishield will continue
The Drug Controller General of India on Sunday said the ongoing trials of both Covishield and Covaxin will continue.
In the first phase of vaccination, healthcare workers will be administered the vaccine free. All arrangements have been tested by states during the dry run. Details of many of the beneficiaries have already been registered with Co-WIN app. In the second phase, frontline workers will be vaccinated and in the third phase people above 50 years of age and people below 50 with co-morbidity issues will be inoculated. Getting vaccinated will be voluntary, though the health ministry has advised that one needs to complete the entire course of two doses which will be administered 28 days apart.