NEW DELHI: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday welcomed the emergency use approval for Oxford-AstraZeneca's and Bharat Biotech's vaccines against coronavirus and termed it a "watershed moment" in India's battle against COVID-19.
India's drugs regulator Sunday approved Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, manufactured in India by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.
Vardhan said the country's wait for a Covid-19 vaccine is over with these approvals.
“A watershed moment in India's famed battle against #COVID19 under the charismatic leadership of Hon'ble PM @narendramodi Ji ! Our wait for #COVID19 vaccine is over with COVISHIELD from @SerumInstIndia and COVAXIN from @BharatBiotech approved for emergency use in India,” Vardhan tweeted.
Calling these vaccines a fitting tribute to corona warriors, he expressed heartfelt gratitude to healthcare professionals and frontline workers for their efforts during these unprecedented times and congratulated all the scientists and researchers for their work.
“It's now time to reap the benefits of the robust supply chain infrastructure we've put in place for quick and equitable distribution of the vaccine. Urge all citizens to entrust the stringent protocols followed for ensuring safety, efficacy & immunogenicity of the approved vaccines,” Vardhan said in another tweet.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted the approval on the basis of recommendations by a COVID-19 Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
"After adequate examination, CDSCO has decided to accept the recommendations of the Expert Committee and accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situations," DCGI Dr V G Somani told the media here.