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NEW DELHI : The government will introduce Zydus Cadila's covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D in country’s national coronavirus vaccination programme very shortly, union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Thursday. 

Zydus Cadila received approval for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for ZyCoV-D on August 20th. “The vaccine will not be available in the market but it will be very shortly included in the government’s national covid-19 program. We are in conversation with the manufacturer for its roll out. Since it is a three-dose vaccine and needs a needle free injecting system, it will have a differential pricing in comparison to other available covid-19 vaccines," said Bhushan. 

The vaccine from Ahmadabad bases pharmaceutical company India’s first indigenously developed DNA based vaccine for Covid-19 to be administered in humans including Children and adults 12 years and above. The three dose vaccine which when injected produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response, which plays a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance.  

India is currently administering Oxford AstraZeneca developed and Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactured Covishield, Hyderabad-based Indian drug maker Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines under its mass immunisation program against Covid-19. 

The government also said that a quarter of India’s eligible population is fully vaccinated against covid-19. As India’s cumulative covid-19 vaccination coverage touched 89 crores, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya’s office tweeted, “India's persistence & determination is creating ripples across the global vaccination campaign. 1/4th of the eligible population, a phenominal 23.7 crore people, is fully vaccinated against #COVID19." 

Bhushan said that at least 69% of the country’s population over 18 years of age have received at least one dose of the vaccine. More than 86.51 crore (86,51,52,695) vaccine doses have been provided to States/UTs so far through government of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category. Further, more than 63.69 Lakh doses (63,69,890) are in the pipeline, the union health ministry said in a separate statement. More than 5 Crore (5,00,46,000) balance and unutilized covid-19 Vaccine doses are still available with the States/UTs to be administered. 

On booster dose for Covid-19 , Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that the priorty is to get the entire eligible population of the country vaccinated fully. “The call of the hour is to give the two-dose vaccination/full vaccination covering the entire adult population. The talk of booster dose is not pertinent at the moment," he said.  

Meanwhile, 23,529 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. The Active Caseload is presently 2,77,020, which is the lowest in 195 days. Active cases presently constitute 0.82% of the country's total Positive Cases. 5,06,254tests being conducted. India has so far conducted over 56.89 Crores (56,89,56,439) cumulative tests. The Daily Positivity rate reported to be 1.56%.  

 “At least 59.66% of the total cases in last week reported from Kerala. Overall declining trend is being observed across India in weekly positivity since week ending 12th May. Weekly positivity has been less than 3% for 13th consecutive week," said Bhushan. “At least18 Districts in India are reporting a weekly Positivity between 5 to 10%. 30 Districts in India are reporting more than 10% weekly Positivity," he said. 

The recovery of 28,718 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients (since the beginning of the pandemic) to 3,30,14,898. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 97.85%. Recovery Rate is currently at its highest peak since March 2020. 

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