Last Updated:

WHO Issues Statement As India Approves 2 COVID-19 Vaccines: 'Will Help Intensify Fight'

Welcoming India's decision on approving vaccines, WHO said it will help "intensify & strengthen the fight against COVID-19 in the South-East Asia Region."

India Covid Vaccine

India's drugs regulator DCGI on Sunday approved Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute, as well as indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive. Welcoming India's decision, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said it will help "intensify and strengthen the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the South-East Asia Region."

WHO hails India's decision

"WHO welcomes the first emergency use authorization 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 the vaccine in prioritized populations, along with the continued implementation of other public health measures and community participation will be important in reducing the impact of COVID-19," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia Region in a statement.

The approval by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) was given on the basis of recommendations submitted by a COVID-19 subject expert committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). "After adequate examination, CDSCO has decided to accept the recommendations of the Expert Committee and accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situation," DCGI Dr V G Somani told a press conference in New Delhi. 

Also, the authority granted Ahmedabad-based Cadila Healthcare the permission to conduct the Phase III clinical trial of its vaccine candidate in India, Somani said. The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield. Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

READ | PM Modi hails scientists as India approves Covaxin, Covishield vaccines; Read his response

READ | Farmers continue to protest amid Delhi rains & biting cold weather; say 'we are hopeful'

PM Modi tweets on vaccine approval 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the country as Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted emergency use approval to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech for their COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday.

Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted, "Happy new year, everyone! All the risks Serum Institute of India 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."

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

READ | Congress seeks Centre's clarification on SEC recommending Bharat Biotech's Covaxin

First Published: