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AIIMS chief expects UK clearance for AstraZeneca vaccine to speed up India rollout too

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria expects India to have the Covid-19 vaccine “within days” as AstraZeneca has got clearance for its vaccine in Britain.

Terming it as “a big step forward,” Dr Guleria said, "Now, we have a data, and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved based on the studies in UK, Brazil and South Africa. There is also data from Serum Institute of India (SII). I think, once the data is shown to the regulatory authority, we should get approval for the vaccine in the county within a few days. I would say days rather than weeks or month," he said in an interview to ANI.

Dr Guleria, who is a member of the national task force on Covid-19 management, said that the country has a robust plan in place for rolling out the vaccine.

"We vaccinate children and pregnant women as part of our universal immunization program. Using the same platform to store vaccines at 2 to 8 degrees centigrade, it will be easier for us to store Covid-19 vaccines," he added

He pointed out that this vaccine can be stored at two to eight degrees Centigrade so storage can be done using a simple fridge rather than what is required in the Pfizer vaccine of minus 70 degrees Centigrade. This would make it easier to distribute the vaccine in India.

Pune-based Serum Institute of India has already manufactured 50 million doses of the vaccine and has applied for emergency use authorisation for the vaccine—Covishield which has been developed in collaboration with British pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University..