With the United Kingdom giving approval for emergency usage of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine (COVISHIELD), India's Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Wednesday met to consider the request of Pfizer, Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech Pvt. Ltd (BBL). After the meeting, SEC informed that it has analysed and perused the additional data presented by SII and BBL and will meet again on 1 January 2021. American pharma giant - Pfizer, on the other hand, has asked for further time to provide additional data and information.
Earlier in the day, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. Taking to Twitter, he said, "Brilliant to end 2020 with such a moment of hope. The Coronavirus vaccine is our way out of the pandemic- now we need to hold our nerve while we get through this together". Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, with 40 million expected to be available by the end of March.
In India, three vaccine candidates - COVAXIN, COVISHIELD and Pfizer's vaccine have applied for approval for emergency usage. On December 2, UK became the first country in the world to authorise the use of Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency purposes, thus, paving way for the delivery of the vaccines. Apart from UK, the US has also approved Pfizer's vaccine while China, Russia have already approved their own vaccines - Sputnik V and Cansino - with mass inoculations reportedly underway.