New Delhi: The subject expert committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Friday (January 1, 2021) recommended the emergency use of Covidshield, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca. 

The Covidshield has become the first vaccine to secure a recommendation for emergency use approval in India, but the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) will take a final call in this regard. Sources told Zee News that experts have given their approval for mass immunisation with the vaccine to begin within the next few days.

In phase 1 of vaccination, as many as 1.7 Lakh frontline workers will be vaccinated. In Jammu and Kashmir, 5000 centers have been established for the vaccination of healthcare workers in Phase 1.

The expert panel today held its meeting to decide on issuing an approval on the emergency-use authorisation for the vaccines of Serum Institute of India (SII) Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccines.

According to official sources, the panel`s recommendation has been sent to DCGI VG Somani for approval, which will pave the way for the vaccine`s rollout in India. The rollout will begin on January 6, according to sources.

The Serum Institute had partnered with Oxford-AstraZeneca for conducting clinical trials and manufacturing `Covishield` while Bharat Biotech has collaborated with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to make `Covaxin`.

America’s Pfizer was the first one to apply for the accelerated approval on December 4, followed by Serum and Bharat Biotech on December 6 and 7, respectively. Pfizer has, however, sought more time to present the data.

As India awaits a vaccine against coronavirus, the DCGI, on Thursday, hinted at the approval of the vaccine and said that the country will have a “Happy New Year with something in hand”.

Notably, the Centre plans to vaccinate nearly 30 crore people in the first phase of the drive. 

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