New Delhi: Indian drugmaker Cipla Ltd has received regulatory approval to distribute partner Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine in the country, said a senior government official, clearing the way for the shot to be imported. Moderna’s vaccine will be the fourth shot authorized for use in India, after AstraZeneca and partner Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Sputnik V developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.
The government has reiterated in recent press briefings that the Pfizer vaccine may soon arrive in India. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in June said that his company was in the final stages of getting approval for its COVID-19 vaccine from the Indian government. He added by saying that when approved, Pfizer will supply one billion doses to India within this year.
India has an ambitious challenge of vaccinating its huge population by the end of this year. With the increasing number of vaccines and various firms joining the club, India will not only be able to achieve this dream but also resolve the constant scarcity of vaccine doses.
Following are the vaccines available for Indian citizens:
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine ‘Covishield’ is locally manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in Pune. Covishield and Covaxin were the very first vaccines that India kicked off the world’s largest vaccination drive with on January 16. The vaccination is given in two doses, four to twelve weeks apart. It can be safely maintained at temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and simply supplied in existing healthcare facilities such as doctors’ offices. Most of the Indian have taken jabs of this vaccine.
Covaxin works with an inactivated virus, meaning it is made up of coronaviruses that have been killed, making it safe to inject into the body. Covaxin is manufactured by Bharat Biotech. The company exports to 123 countries and have a portfolio of 16 vaccines, using a coronavirus sample isolated by India’s National Institute of Virology. The maximum price of Covishield for private Covid-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) has been fixed at Rs 780 per dose, while that of Covaxin is Rs 1,410 per dose.
3. Sputnik V:
Sputnik V is manufactured by Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in India. Whereas Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology has developed the vaccine and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is marketing it globally. The vaccine makes use of two different viruses that cause the common cold (adenovirus) in humans. The two doses, given 21 days apart, are different and not interchangeable.
Private hospital chains Fortis Healthcare and Apollo Hospitals have started administering Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V at two of their hospitals in Delhi-NCR. Indraprastha Apollo in Delhi started administering Sputnik V in a staged manner from Wednesday. Around 1,000 people have been vaccinated so far. The Centre has fixed the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,145 per dose.
Moderna will become the fourth vaccine to be available for use in India. The vaccine doses will be imported by Indian drug manufacturer Cipla Ltd and will be under the central government’s purview. The Centre plans to provide the Moderna doses directly to states.
India is receiving the Moderna vaccine doses under the COVAX scheme of the World Health Organisation (WHO), a few days after the DGCI granted approval to it.
US-based Pfizer is in the final stages of getting approval for its COVID-19 vaccine from the Indian government, when approved, the pharma giant will supply one billion doses to India within this year.
The Centre is also planning to grant indemnity from liability to Pfizer and Moderna to speed up approvals for the vaccines in India. Indemnity means protection to vaccine makers from legal proceedings, which ensures they can’t be sued in India.
6. Many more to come:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has hinted that the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is about to increase in the coming days. He said that seven companies are producing different types of vaccines today. Trials of three more vaccines are in the advanced stage, he said. The Prime Minister also talked of trials for two vaccines for children and a ‘nasal vaccine’ in one of his speeches.
With the advent of technology and research, humanity has managed to develop vaccines at an unprecedented pace and scale. Indian population will soon get benefitted from the vast choice of vaccines available in the country.