Prakash Javadekar Photograph:( ANI )
The government had given a go-ahead on Friday, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said that Indian government had approved emergency use of AstraZeneca/ Oxford University coronavirus vaccine, also known as Covishield in India. The minister said that the government had given a go-ahead on Friday. The vaccine had also got a go-ahead from expert panel at Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) had given its nod to the vaccine on Friday itself. Javadekar said that India had more than 50 million doses stockpiled.
The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will be manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).
As India gears up to take up the challenging task of inoculating millions of people, many Indian states on Saturday conducted dry-runs for vaccination to assess their ability and readiness to administer Covid-19 shots to hundreds of millions of people, including many in remote corners of the country.
Delhi, Punjab, Haryana along with Gujarat, Andra Pradesh and Assam were among many states and UTs that conducted dry runs for vaccination earlier in the day, aimed at testing the laid out mechanisms for the vaccination roll-out in the health system.
The Centre had directed earlier to conduct a dry run by all state and UTs on January 2 to test the linkages between planning and implementation, and to identify the challenges.
As per the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all states selected their particular areas and districts to hold the dry run exercise at various government medical college, hospitals, medical centres and the community health centres.
While visiting one of dry run centres, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers would be given free vaccine in the first phase of the inoculation drive.
"In the first phase of vaccination, free vaccine will be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that include one crore healthcare and 2 crore frontline workers," Vardhan said in a tweet.
(With agency inputs)