The World Health Organisation on Sunday welcomed India’s decision giving emergency use authorisation to COVID-19 vaccines, saying it will help “intensify” and “strengthen” its fight against the ongoing pandemic.
India’s drugs regulator has approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
It paves the way for the roll out of at least two vaccines in the country in the coming days.
“WHO welcomes the first emergency use authorization given to COVID-19 vaccine in the WHO South-East Asia Region. This decision taken today by India will help intensify and strengthen the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the Region,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region.
According to Dr. Khetrapal, the use of vaccine in “priortised population” as well as implementation of other public health measures will be important in reducing the impact of the pandemic.
“The use of vaccine in prioritised populations, along with continued implementation of other public health measures and community participation will be important in reducing the impact of COVID-19,” she added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the approval a decisive turning point in the country’s fight against coronavirus.
India’s COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 1,03,23,965 with 18,177 new cases in a day, while 99,27,310 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 96.15% on Sunday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.
There are 2,47,220 active cases of coronavirus in the country which comprise 2.39% of the total caseload, the data stated.
The death toll climbed to 1,49,435 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 217 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed.