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India may start Covid-19 vaccination in January: Health Minister

Covid-19 vaccination in India may start in January 2021

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that the vaccination for Covid-19 may start in India in the month of January. The Health Minister further added that the government’s priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. “I personally feel may be in January in any stage or any week, there can be a time when we can be in a position to give first Covid vaccine shot to the people of India,” Harsh Vardhan told news agency ANI in an interview.

“Our first priority has been safety and effectiveness of vaccines. We do not want to compromise on that. I personally feel, maybe in any week of January, we can be in a position to give first COVID vaccine shot to people of India,” Harsh Vardhan told ANI.

With the hopes of Covid-19 vaccination soaring high in India, meanwhile 24,337 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours. In India, total coronavirus cases reached 1,00,55,560 on Monday (21 December), according to the Union Health Ministry data.

There are six COVID-19 vaccine candidates in different clinical trial stages in India including Covishield, Covaxin, ZyCoV-D, Sputnik V, NVX-CoV2373 and a recombinant protein antigen-based vaccine.

Clinical trails by Bharat Biotech are in phase-3, while the one which is being developed by Zydus Cadila is in phase-2 clinical trial. Vaccine candidate of Biological E is in it phase-1 clinical trials while Gennova biopharmaceuticals is in the process of getting approvals at various levels. Serum Institute of India (SII) is also conducting phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories is conducting phase 2 and 3 clinical trials for Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

Also Read: India ready for Covid-19 inoculation drive: Status of vaccines and their rollout

With over 1 crore people having been infected with COVID-19, a prominent question that comes up is whether a previously infected person also needs to be vaccinated. In a recently released FAQs regarding the vaccination drive, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare included a question on whether a COVID-19 recovered patient needed to get vaccinated.

In a response to this question, the ministry stated that irrespective of the history of COVID-19 infection, it was advisable for everyone to complete the schedule of COVID-19 vaccination.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to authorise the use of Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency purposes.