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Centre Refutes 'doubts' Over COVAXIN Approval With Data: 'politicisation Is Disgraceful'

Lambasting Opposition leaders for politicising the approval of BBL's COVAXIN, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said the Opposition discrediting itself

Harsh Vardhan

Lambasting Opposition leaders for politicising the approval of Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday, said the Opposition was only discrediting themselves by questioning the well laid out science-backed protocols followed for approving the vaccines. Congress leaders like - Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh have questioned why Bharat Biotech - ICMR's 'COVAXIN' vaccine has been approved while Phase-3 trials are underway, modifying 'internationally accepted protocols'. The DCGI has allowed AstraZeneca - SII's 'COVISHIELD' and Bharat Biotech - ICMR's 'COVAXIN' vaccines for restricted use in an emergency situation.

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Covishield, Covaxin get DCGI nod; PM Modi hails decision

Dr. Vardhan: 'Disgraceful to politicise'

He explained that COVAXIN which is based on whole inactivated virus is likely to have efficacy similar to gene encoding spike proteins - over 90%. Moreover, he added that COVAXIN is more likely to work against newer variants like N501Y Variant (UK variant) & any other variant. Citing Phase-I and Phase-II data, Dr. Vardhan stated that no adverse effects were seen after the clinical trials. He also clarified that COVAXIN was given a different approval i.e 'clinical trial mode' - where all COVAXIN recipients will be tracked,monitored as if they’re in trial.

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Vaccine politics

After Subject Expert Committee (SEC)'s nod to both vaccines on Saturday, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, said that 'I will not get vaccinated - that too on BJP's vaccine (COVID-19), as I don't trust it, at a press conference in Lucknow.  He also added that his government comes to power, the vaccine will we be provided free - 'not BJP's vaccine'.  His statement drew severe flak from BJP, which termed it an 'insult to scientists', while other parties reiterated their faith in the vaccines.

Similarly, after the DCGI's nod to COVAXIN and COVISHIELD, Ramesh said that Phase 3 trials protocol have been modified for the Bharat Biotech vaccine candidate, urging Health Minister Harshvardhan to clarify on the same. Meanwhile, Tharoor stated that the DCGI 'approval was premature and could be dangerous', opining that its use should be avoided till full trials are over. Their doubts over COVAXIN has been slammed by several politicians included ex-Congress member Sanjay Jha who said he will 'willing to publicly take Covaxin'.

ICMR chief assures safety of BBL's COVAXIN; says 'Has advantage over other vaccines'


On Sunday, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani announced that the vaccines of Serum Institue of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) have been granted permission for restricted use in an emergency situation. Covishield - a Recombinant Chimpanzee Adenovirus vector vaccine - has an efficacy of 70.42%, with interim safety and immunogenicity data of Phase-II/III trials submitted to the SEC. Covaxin - a Whole Virion Inactivated Corona Virus Vaccine - 22,500 participants vaccinated in Phase-III trials and was found to be safe as per the data available till date. Meanwhile, Zydus-Cadilla's nCov-Vaccine using DNA platform technology has been allowed to conduct Phase-III clinical trial in 26000 Indian participants. The government has stated that the first phase of the vaccination drive will be free including one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers, aiming to vaccinate 27 crore priority beneficiaries until July.

India Approves SII's Covishield & Bharat Biotech's Covaxin COVID Vaccines: DCGI statement

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