India’s drug regulator has approved the use of Russia’s covid vaccine Sputnik V. The country has got the third covid vaccine after Covishield and Covaxin. Preparations are now underway to grant emergency approvals to even more foreign vaccines. The Union Health Ministry said on April 13 that the Central government has fast-tracked the process of sanctioning foreign covid vaccines.
“The process of sanctioning vaccines that have received emergency use authorization in other countries has been fast-tracked to increase the number of vaccines for domestic use and speed up vaccination,” the ministry said.
“India had constituted a task force under the chairmanship of Principal Scientific Advisor to promote R&D on vaccine manufacturing. In addition, an expert group headed by a member of NITI Aayog was formed in August 2020 to help launch the COVID-19 vaccination program.”
Union Health Ministry
The Health Ministry said that the decision to increase the number of vaccines for domestic use was taken at the 23rd meeting of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC). The meeting was held on April 11 under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Paul.
What was decided in the meeting?
“NEGVAC has advised after deliberations that vaccines made abroad and those which have been approved by USFDA, EMA, UK MHRA, PMDA Japan can be approved in India,” the Union Health Ministry said.
Out of such foreign vaccines, 100 beneficiaries will be assessed and then approved for security results for seven days.
The Central Government has accepted the advice of the NEGVAC and has fast-tracked the process of sanctioning vaccines.
Which vaccines can be approved?
Recently, news agency ANI quoted official sources as saying that five additional manufacturers in India will receive the covid vaccine by the third quarter of this year.
“These vaccines are Sputnik V (in collaboration with Dr Reddy), Johnson & Johnson Vaccine (in collaboration with Biological E), Novawax Vaccine (in collaboration with Serum India), Zayedus Cadila Vaccine and Intranesal Vaccine of Bharat Biotech.”
According to the report, Johnson & Johnson and Cadila Zayedus will be available by August. Meanwhile, Novavax the vaccine is expected to be available by September and the Nasal vaccine by October.
However, now that the approval process is fast-tracked, all these vaccines are likely to join India’s vaccination program at the earliest.