Decisive Turning Point, Says Modi as Oxford, Bharat Biotech Vaccines Get Emergency Use Approval

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the nation and thanked the scientific and healthcare community on Sunday after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) officially approved Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use.

Taking to Twitter, Modi said the announcement marks a “decisive turning point” in India’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic. He added that every India would be proud that both vaccines are “made in India”.

“A decisive turning point to strengthen a spirited fight! DCGI granting approval to vaccines of Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech accelerates the road to a healthier and COVID-free nation. Congratulations India. Congratulations to our hardworking scientists and innovators,” the PM said.

“It would make every Indian proud that the two vaccines that have been given emergency use approval are made in India! This shows the eagerness of our scientific community to fulfil the dream of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, at the root of which is care and compassion,” he added.

Covishield, the vaccine developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca, is being manufactured for India and other countries by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, while Coxavin is India’s first domestic Covid-19 vaccine made by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.

The emergency use authorization was announced at a virtual press briefing by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr VG Somani. "The... vaccines of Serum Institute (AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine) and Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situations," Somani said.

The approval is expected to kick off one of the world's biggest vaccination drives in coming days in the country of 1.3 billion people. India is the world's second most-infected nation with more than 10.3 million cases and almost 150,000 deaths.