On Monday, Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister received the first dose of a home-grown coronavirus vaccine, kicking off an expansion of the country's immunisation campaign, which began with healthcare workers in mid-January. Vaccinations are now available to people over the age of 60, as well as those who are 45 or older and have certain medical conditions.
India, which, after the United States, has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, has vaccinated over 12 million health and front-line employees. Unlike in the past, the government declared last week that people would be able to select their vaccination centres, essentially enabling beneficiaries to choose between the home-grown COVAXIN vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Due to reluctance among health and front-line staff to take COVAXIN, which was approved without late-stage efficacy evidence, the inoculation campaign has taken longer than anticipated. Just about 11% of those who have been vaccinated have selected the product produced by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Efficacy data from a late-stage trial involving nearly 26,000 volunteers who took COVAXIN will be released soon, according to Bharat Biotech. COVAXIN is safe and reliable, according to the company and India's drug regulator, based on early and intermediate studies. More than 11 million coronavirus infections have been recorded in India, with over 157,000 deaths.