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Get vaccinated 24x7 now; Covaxin 81% effective: Key updates on Covid vaccines

A man receives a Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine called COVAXIN at a vaccination centre in New Delhi. (REUTERS)Premium
A man receives a Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine called COVAXIN at a vaccination centre in New Delhi. (REUTERS)

  • India's vaccination drive received a fresh boost with the makers of the indigenous Covaxin announcing that it has shown an interim efficacy of 81% in Phase 3 clinical trials
  • Meanwhile, easing restrictions, the govt has now allowed all private hospitals to administer vaccines if they adhere to the laid down norms

As part of efforts to boost India's immunisation drive, the Central Government has permitted round-the-clock Covid-19 vaccination.

Easing restrictions, the Centre has now allowed all private hospitals to administer coronavirus vaccines if they adhere to the laid down norms, while the 9 am to 5 pm timing has also been done away with. Now, hospitals are free to carry out 24X7 vaccination.

Meanwhile, the country's nationwide vaccination exercise received a fresh boost on Wednesday with the makers of the indigenous Covaxin announcing that Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine candidate has shown an interim efficacy of 81% in Phase 3 clinical trials.

Covaxin is one of the two Covid-19 vaccines that have been granted emergency use approval in India.

Here are the latest updates on Covid vaccines:

1) The Indian Council of Medical Research, the country's apex research body, and Bharat Biotech announced that phase 3 results of Covaxin, developed by them, have shown an interim vaccine efficacy of 81% in preventing COVID-19, and dubbed it as an important milestone in vaccine discovery.

2) "The bench-to-bedside journey of completely indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in less than eight months' time showcases the immense strength of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) to fight the odds and stand tall in the global public health community.

"It is also a testament to India's emergence as a global vaccine superpower," said Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR, said on Wednesday.

3) In January, India's drugs regulator had approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and Covaxin for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for the massive inoculation drive.

4) Some questions were raised on the approval to Covaxin as its phase three trial results were awaited, but the company and government authorities had discounted concerns.

5) "Today is an important milestone in vaccine discovery, for science and our fight against coronavirus. With today's results from our phase 3 clinical trials, we have now reported data on our COVID-19 vaccine from Phase 1, 2, and 3 trials involving around 27,000 participants," Bharat Biotech Chairman & Managing Director Krishna Ella said.

6) On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was administered Covaxin on the very first day of expansion of the inoculation drive to cover people aged 60 and above and those between 45-59 having co-morbidities.

7) Covaxin has been developed on the WHO prequalified Vero cell platform which is globally recognized with a well-established track record of safety, the ICMR said.

It said Covaxin's ability to neutralize the UK variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 has also recently been established.

8) Covishield had shown an efficacy rate of 70% after two full doses. However, one of the regimens with a half dose and a full dose showed 90% efficacy against the virus.

9) "The development and deployment of Covaxin ensures that India has a powerful weapon in its arsenal in a continually evolving pandemic situation and will go a long way in helping us win the war against Covid-19.

"The need of the hour is to ensure that people in India continue to receive the vaccine and break the chain of virus transmission," said Dr Samiran Panda, Head, Epidemiology and Communicable Disease, ICMR and Director, National AIDS Research Institute.

10) In order to speed-up the Covid-19 vaccination exercise, the Centre has allowed round-the-clock immunisation. The government has also eased restrictions and allowed all private hospitals to give Covid-19 vaccines, provided they adhere to the laid down norms. Apart from this, the 9 am to 5 pm timing for vaccination has also been done away with.

11) "The government has lifted the time restriction to increase the speed of vaccination. People can now get vaccinated 24x7 according to their convenience. Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands the value of health as well as the time of citizens," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted in Hindi, a day after he got COVID-19 vaccine.

12) The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered since January 16 in the country crossed 1.63 crore on Wednesday evening, the Union Health Ministry said.

13) As many as 8,44,884 people who are more than 60 years old and 1,04,263 people aged 45 and above with specific co-morbidities have received their first jab in the second phase of the exercise which began on March 1.

14) President Ram Nath Kovind was administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at an army hospital in the national capital on Wednesday. Several other prominent people including Union Minister Hardeep Puri, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik and Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad also received their first jabs.

15) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several union ministers and other prominent leaders and personalities are among those who have taken the COVID vaccine in the second phase.


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