India approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

New Delhi: India has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, paving the way for a huge immunisation campaign in the world’s second most populous country.

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Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters on Saturday the vaccine had been approved on Friday, confirming what sources close to the matter had told Reuters.

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It is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for emergency use by India, which has the highest number of infections after the United States.

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Javadekar said at least three more vaccines were waiting in line to be approved.

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“India is perhaps the only country where at least four vaccines are getting ready,” he said.

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“One was approved yesterday for emergency use, Serum’s COVISHIELD.” he said, referring to the fact that the shot is being made locally by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

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India has reported more than 10 million COVID-19 cases, though its rate of infection has come down significantly from a mid-September peak.

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The country hopes to inoculate 300 million of its 1.35 billion people in the first six to eight months of 2021.

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