New Delhi, January 3: Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, a potential vaccine against coronavirus, will be used only when the COVID-19 cases rise in the country, AIIMS Director, Dr Randeep Guleria, said on Sunday. Dr Randeep Guleria also said that Serum Institue of India's Covishield will be given in the first phase of a mega vaccination drive. He added that Bharat Biotech will continue trials of Covaxin. How to Register for COVID-19 Vaccine in India Using Co-WIN; Check Step By Step Process of Vaccination Laid Down by Indian Government.
"In an emergency situation when there is a sudden increase in cases and we need to vaccinate, Bharat Biotech vaccine will be used. It can also be used as a backup when we are not sure how efficacious the Serum Institute vaccine is going to be," Dr Guleria said. "Initially, Serum Institute's vaccine will be given. They already have 50 million doses available and they will be able to give that in the initial phase where we will vaccinate around three crore people," he said.
The AIIMS director underlined that the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Covaxin "for restricted use in emergency situation in public interest...in case of infection by mutant strains". "They (Bharat Biotech) have to continue the trial and get the data in. Once that data comes in, we will be more confident as far as safety and efficacy is concerned," he said. Shashi Tharoor Questions DCGI Approval for Covaxin, Seeks Clarification From Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
"It's important to understand that when we consider any vaccine, safety is paramount and therefore vaccine goes through various stages to make sure it's safe. Then only we come to human trials. All data is critically looked at by experts after which vaccine is approved," Dr Guleria emphasised. His comments came amid Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh's questions over the DCGI approval to Covaxin.
"The Covaxin has not yet had Phase 3 trials. Approval was premature and could be dangerous. Dr Harsh Vardhan should please clarify. Its use should be avoided till full trials are over. India can start with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the meantime," Tharoor tweeted after the big news arrived. Earlier today, Jairam Ramesh alleged that international protocols for phase 3 trials were modified for Covaxin.