After Serum Institute’s Covishield, the first batches of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ was despatched to 11 cities from Hyderabad on Wednesday. The vaccine stock has been sent to cities such as New Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Patna and Jaipur.
The development comes ahead of the initiation of vaccination against COVID-19 in the country scheduled on January 16. The Union health ministry has ordered 55 lakh doses of Covaxin and 1.1 crore doses of Covishield. Both the vaccines have been cleared by the Indian drug regulator for “restricted emergency use”.
Controversy over Covaxin
The controversy over Covaxin started after the Indian drug regulator approved the vaccine for emergency use even as the vaccine is yet to complete and clear the crucial phase 3 trial. Congress had repeatedly attacked the government’s decision to use the vaccine without proper tests.
However, the government claimed that the vaccine developed by the Bharat Biotech will be used only in case of emergency.
Congress MP and spokesperson Manish Tewari criticised the BJP-led Union government for its flip-flop on Covaxin. Tewari took to Twitter and raised the issue. He said, “Till yesterday NDA/BJP claimed Covaxin has been cleared for emergency use. Today by not allowing recipient to pick vaccine of his choice is NDA/BJP making Guinea pigs out of Indians @drharshvardhan? Is roll out THE REAL Phase-3 Trial of Covaxin?”
While all COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by several countries have cleared the phase-3 trial, Covaxin is an exception. However, the government has assured that the vaccine is safe for administration and provides the required protection from coronavirus.
Over 1.04 cr COVID-19 cases
The health ministry on Wednesday informed that 15,968 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India in the past 24 hours. The addition of the fresh cases has taken the COVID-19 case tally past 1.04 crore.
Also, 202 COVID-19 related deaths were reported by the ministry during this period. The addition of the fresh fatalities has taken India’s death toll due to the deadly virus to 1,51,529.
Of the over 1.04 crore coronavirus cases reported so far, over 2.14 lakh are active cases of the virus. It is above 2 per cent of the total caseload. Interestingly, over 1.01 crore cases have recovered from the viral infection so far.
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