The Serum Institute of India (SII) was waiting for the United Kingdom (UK) to grant approval to the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The UK health department’s green signal for use of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine on Wednesday (December 30) has elated the Serum management, which now awaits a nod for emergency use of the jab in India.
Serum is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. It has entered into a collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield.
The Oxford University vaccine, produced by AstraZeneca, is the second coronavirus vaccine to be cleared for rollout in Britain after the Pfizer/BioNTech medication. “This is great and encouraging news. We will wait for the final approval from Indian regulators,” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said in a statement.
AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot told Reuters on Wednesday that its vaccine “should be effective against the new variant of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom”.
Meanwhile, in the wake of a new strain of coronavirus spreading across the globe, India has suspended passenger flights between the UK and India till January 7. Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday that flights between two countries will resume in a “strictly regulated” manner thereafter.
The Union Health Ministry has warned states to stay on guard during New Year celebrations and check crowding as a precautionary measure.
The Kerala government, meanwhile, decided to relax the curbs imposed on temple festivities, reported PTI.
State Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said restrictions in connection with the festivities would be relaxed in temples managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board – the apex temple body in the southern state which manages over 1,200 shrines.
The Union health ministry reported that on Wednesday (December 30), India registered 20,550 new cases, taking the total tally to 1,02,44,853. With 286 deaths in the past 24 hours, the overall death toll rose to 1,48,439. There are 2,62,272 active cases in the country and as many as 98,34,141 people have recovered.