The Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, designed at the University of Oxford, has been approved for use in the United Kingdom and received partial approvals in India according to latest reports. UK’s medicine regulator, Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation gave this approval. This is indicating a dramatic turning point in the country’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19. The vaccine is meant to be produced in bulk, to meet India’s needs and is better suited to transport and storage facilities in our country. Here’s all you need to know about it.
BBC reports that the UK’s vaccine order from manufacturer AstraZeneca ranges around 100 million doses, which will approximate vaccinations for 50 million people. The second vaccine to be approved in the UK, after Pfizer-BioNTech’s rollout in December, AstraZeneca has reportedly gone through several clinical trials, receiving a go-ahead from medical authorities as an assurance of its safety.
About The Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine
Given the features of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which comprises easy transportation and refrigeration at regular temperatures, its rollout is expected to be swift. Medical experts have recorded no side or ill effects of the vaccine after trials.
The Guardian notes that while the Oxford vaccine had only 62 percent efficacy in a large sample size, efficacy was 90 percent when tested on a small group that was first given a half dose, and then a full one four weeks later.
Ever since the UK approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in December, with 91-year-old Margaret Keenan becoming the first patient to get a jab on December 8, over 600,000 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The coming of the Oxford vaccine now is being hailed as a momentous development, owing to its cheaper rate and faster rollout.
When Will The Oxford Vaccine Hit India?
We reported earlier, quoting sources, that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may well be the first one to hit India for emergency use. Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, said in November that the Oxford vaccine should be available for use in India for priority population, i.e. the elderly and healthcare workers by February 2021. It will allegedly be made available for the general public by April next year.
Poonawalla also added that though the government of India would be getting it for USD 3-4 and the public will avail the vaccine at USD 5-6 (₹ 1,000) per dose, it would be because GOI would be buying on a large scale. Moreover, the pricing is “far cheaper and more affordable” than other vaccines available in the pharmaceutical market today, he claimed. Read more here.