Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 8
With nine vaccines at different stages of development and three under consideration by the drug regulator for emergency approval, the Centre today said some vaccines would get a licence in the next few weeks and the vaccination drive would start thereafter “at the earliest”.
Daily cases at 5-month low
New Delhi: In a significant sign of Covid-19 stabilisation, India on Tuesday recorded the lowest daily new cases in five months. The cases over 24 hours dropped to 26,567. The new cases were 26,506 last on July 10.
Pfizer India, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech vaccines are pending with the Central Drug Standards Control Organisation, which will examine safety data before granting any licence for use in India.
“We hope a decision on licences will be taken expeditiously without compromising on scientific rigour. We urge people to trust our institutions when they say a certain vaccine is safe. There should be no doubt after that,” VK Paul, chairman, National Expert Group on Covid Vaccine Administration said today with Congress veteran Anand Sharma asking how the regulator accepted applications from Pfizer (which has not conducted any trial for their vaccine in India) and Bharat Biotech (which hasn’t shared any phase 3 trial data so far).
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, however, cited New Clinical Trial Rules-2019 to say these allow “relaxations, omissions, abbreviation, deferment of data, including local clinical trials” in emergencies like a pandemic.
The government, meanwhile, said preparations for vaccine rollout were in final stages and “everyone who needs a vaccine will get one, but three categories will be inoculated first.”
The expert group has recommended inclusion of one crore health workers, two crore frontline workers (personnel of police, armed forces, home guard, disaster management volunteers and municipal workers) and 27 crore people who are above 50 years of age or those with comorbid conditions even if they are below 50 years of age.
The government will take a final call on priority groups for inoculation.