Why is GoI fast tracking the Emergency use of foreign made COVID-19 Vaccines?

The Government of India recently announced that it is speeding up the Emergency Usage Approvals of foreign made COVID-19 vaccines. This includes COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in other countries.

Role of NEGVAC in the approval

The foreign vaccines for EUA were recommended by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).

Why is India fast tracking EUA of foreign COVID-19 vaccines?

India is fast tracking the EUA of foreign COVID-19 vaccines to expand the basket of vaccines for domestic use. This will speed up the pace and coverage of vaccination in the country. It selected those vaccines that received EUA from USFDA, PMDA of Japan, MHRA of UK and also those listed in World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing.

What is the plan?

The first hundred beneficiaries of the foreign vaccines are to be assessed for seven days for safety outcomes.

Current Scenario

India is the second most COVID-19 affected country in the world. India overtook Brazil to reach the second position. US is still the most COVID-19 affected country in the world.

Currently India has provided Emergency Use authorisation for three vaccines namely COVAXIN, SPUTNIK V and COVISHIELD. The COVAXIN is produced by Bharat Biotech of Hyderabad along with the Indian Council of Medical Research. The COVISHIELD is produced by the Serum Institute of India. The SPUTNIK V is a Russian vaccine.

Recently, the SPUTNIK V received EUA. The Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will import the vaccine from Russia to be used in India.

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