Beneficiaries may not get to choose between two Covid-19 vaccines: Indian health ministry | The Daily Star
01:24 PM, January 13, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:33 PM, January 13, 2021

Beneficiaries may not get to choose between two Covid-19 vaccines: Indian health ministry

While India is rolling out Covishield and Covaxin vaccines against Covid-19 on January 16, its government has indicated that recipients of the jabs may not have the option to choose the one they want to be inoculated with.

At the same time, Indian Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said four more Covid-19 vaccines are in the pipeline and their manufacturers may approach the Indian drug controller for emergency use authorisation.

"Two Covid-19 vaccines -- Covishield and Covaxin -- have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), both having established safety and immunogenicity. Across the world, there have been more than two Covid-19 vaccines being used but so far, no country in the world has given the beneficiaries this option to choose which vaccine they want to take," Bhushan said yesterday.

Bhushan said Zydus Cadila, Sputnik V, Biological E and Gennova are the other vaccines in the pipeline which are in advanced clinical trials in India after emergency use permission has been given to Oxford-AstraZeneca and Covaxin being manufactured by India's pharma majors Serum Institute in Pune and Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad, on January 3.

"In the coming days, you may see some of these vaccines too approaching the drug controller for emergency use authorisation," he said.

Bhushan said Zydus Cadilla completed Phase 2 clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine in December last and has been granted approval for Phase 3 human trial.

Similarly, Phase 2 clinical trials of Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine have also concluded and Phase 3 trials are being carried out by its Indian partner Dr Reddy''s Laboratories in Hyderabad, he said.

In the case of Biological E, Bhushan said the Phase 1 clinical trials of its vaccine started in December and Phase 2 is expected to begin in March.

Gennova's RnA-based Covid-19 vaccine is currently in Phase 1 with Phase 2 clinical trial is likely to begin in March of this year, he said.

About pricing of some of the vaccines, Bhushan said Pfizer-BioNTech is available at Rs 1,431 per dose, Moderna at Rs 2,348 to Rs 2,715 per dose, Sinopharm less than Rs 5,650 per dose, Sinovac Biotech at Rs 1,027 per dose, Novavax at Rs 1,114 per dose, Gamaleya Centre at less than Rs 734 per dose and Johnson and Johnson at Rs 734 per dose.

All these vaccines, except the one by Pfizer, can be stored between 2-8 degrees Celsius. Pfizer needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius, he added.

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