Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated India and it’s hard working scientists and innovators minutes after the DCGI granted approval to the vaccines against COVID-19 manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech’s.
Calling the development an acceleration on the road to a healthier and COVID-free nation, Mr Modi said it was a “decisive turning point to strengthen a spirited fight!”
Stating that the vaccines are a fitting tribute to the “corona warriors”, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also tweeted his gratitude to all healthcare professionals and frontline workers for their exemplary efforts during these unprecedented times.
“Congratulations to all the scientists and researchers for their untiring efforts. 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 and immunogenicity of the approved vaccines,” he said.
Calling the approval of Covaxin for emergency use a giant leap for innovation and novel product development in India, Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Krishna Ella said, “It is a proud moment for the nation and a great milestone in India’s scientific capability, a kickstart to the innovation ecosystem in India.”
She added that while this vaccine addresses an unmet medical need during this pandemic, “our goal is to provide global access to populations that need it the most. COVAXIN has generated excellent safety data with robust immune responses to multiple viral proteins that persist”.
Responding to the DCGI decision, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted: while wishing everyone a happy new year tweeted stating “All the risks SII took with stockpiling the vaccine have finally paid off. COVISHIELD, India's first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks.”
Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director WHO South-East Asia Region in her statement said WHO welcomed the first emergency use authorisation 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. The use of vaccines 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 said.
“Vaccination will begin soon,” said principal scientific advisor, K. Vijay Raghavan in his tweet.
He said: “This is a result of focused work by scientists, national laboratories, government agencies, regulators, health care workers, and most importantly, all our people who have waited patiently following all COVID appropriate behaviour.”
He added that there are full vaccination measures in place across the country.
“All should follow these protocols systematically and fully. Everyone will get their turn. We should start by ensuring that those who look after us, health- and frontline-workers, are first safe,” he tweeted.