The global tally of cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has topped 85 million with more than 1.8 million deaths, the Johns Hopkins University tracker shows, even as vaccination drives are underway in several countries. On Sunday, India approved its first two Covid-19 vaccines and immunisation drive, likely to be the world’s largest, is expected to begin soon.
Here are some latest updates on the Covid-19 vaccine front:
1. Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday announced it had given approval for use in emergency cases of the respective vaccines of Oxford University-AstraZeneca, and Bharat Biotech International Limited. Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, will be manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), while Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is the country’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine. A third vaccine candidate, ZyCoV-D of Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, was given the nod for phase 3 trials.
Click here for full Covid-19 coverage
2. The United Kingdom will on Monday start giving shots of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, which was approved by the country’s health regulators last week. Covishield will be the second Covid-19 vaccine to be used in the UK, which last month became the first country to start a vaccination drive, administering shots of the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE vaccine.
3. An association of private health clinics in Brazil confirmed on Sunday it was in talks to procure from India’s Bharat Biotech, five million doses of its Covaxin. The Brazilian Association of Vaccine Clinics (ABCVAC) confirmed on its website it had signed an MoU for Covaxin, which received authorisation in India on Sunday. Brazil is yet to get a Covid-19 vaccine and any deal will have to be approved by the South American country’s health regulator, Anvisa. Brazil is the third worst-hit country in the world, after the United States and India, respectively.
4. Jordan’s prime minister Bisher al-Khasawneh on Sunday announced his government had agreed to purchase vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech SE, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). While 1 million doses will be purchased from Pfizer-BioNTech SE, 2 million will be procured from the WHO, under its COVAX programme. However, it was not specified when these vaccines would be received.
(With agency inputs)