Free Press Bulletin
Free Press Bulletin

Here are the top 5 news updates of June 2, 2021:

1. Pfizer vaccine in India by July? Govt makes plan to vaccinate all by year end; may soon grant indemnity

COVID-19 cases in India may be showing a downward trend, but the fight against the deadly virus is far from over. At present, there are more than 17.93 lakh active cases in India, and many experts have flagged the possibility of there being a third wave of the pandemic in the coming months. Against this backdrop, the Centre has amped up efforts to vaccine the population, seemingly having put aside many earlier reservations.

"The government has made action plans to vaccinate all by end of December 2021 and for production of 250 crore vaccine doses after speaking to several pharma companies. Sputnik arrived in Hyderabad yesterday, discussions are on to get Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson too," said MoS (Home) G Kishan Reddy on Wednesday.

His remarks come hours after the Centre said that foreign-made vaccines such as those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna will not have to undergo local bridging trials. This relaxation from the Drugs Controller General of India applies only for vaccines that have already been approved by certain other health bodies and governments.

According to reports, that quote sources at the Health Ministry, the government may soon grant indemnity to foreign vaccine makers. Reportedly, the Centre is ready to grant indemnity to companies such as Pfizer that have applied for Emergency Use Authorisation in India. This is likely to be along the lines of what has been allowed in other countries, and would mean that the companies would have legal protection from any claims linked to the use of its vaccine.

2. Mumbai: Haffkine Bio-Pharma gets approval for Covaxin production; in talks with Bharat Biotech to initiate process

Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited (HBPCL), a Maharashtra government undertaking, Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical under state government has said it has received approval for Covaxin production. It is in talks with Bharat Biotech for further process and will initiate production in 8 months.

HBPCL is preparing for mass production of Covaxin and will have the capacity to produce over 22 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine every year once the requisite facilities are in place.

The Department of Biotechnology has given permission to HBPCL for producing Covaxin under Mission Covid Suraksha. Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR.

3. Attention! CBSE, CISCE Class 12 board exam cancelled - What about state boards?

Ending the uncertainty looming over Class 12 exams, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and the Central Board of Secondary Education cancelled the exams.

Along with CBSE and CISCE, several state boards have all ocanclled the Class 12 exam, while several others said that they will take the decision soon. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh has cancelled Class 12 board exam.

Maharashtra Minister Varsha Gaikwad welcomed the Centre's decision and said that the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led government will soon announce the decision for HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate) students in the state. Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board has cancelled Class 12 board examination.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said it was an important step to ensure the health and safety of students.He said a decision about the Class 12 exams of the UP Secondary Board would soon be taken after a meeting with the chief minister.

4. 'Arbitrary and irrational': Supreme Court on Centre's policy of paid vaccination for 18-44 age group

The Supreme Court today slammed the Centre's policy of paid vaccination for 18-44 age group and termed it 'arbitrary and irrational'. As per a NDTV report, the apex court called the issue of vaccination "absolutely crucial" and said "Reports indicate that persons between 18-44 years of age have not only been infected by COVID-19, but have also suffered from severe effects of the infection, including prolonged hospitalisation and, in unfortunate cases, death. Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, we are now faced with a situation where the 18-44 age group also needs to be vaccinated, although priority may be retained between different age groups on a scientific basis."

The order further reads, "Hence, due to the importance of vaccinating individuals in the 18-44 age group, the policy of the Central Government for conducting free vaccination themselves for groups under the first 2 phases, and replacing it with paid vaccination by the State/UT Governments and private hospitals for the persons between 18-44 years is, prima facie, arbitrary and irrational,"

On May 31, the Supreme Court gave a tongue lashing to the Centre on its Covid vaccination policy, flagging "various flaws" in the drive, which it faulted for different streams of pricing, shortage of doses and lack of access in rural areas, and gave it two weeks to respond.

5. Key indices end mixed in another lacklustre session; market undercurrent remains positive

After a negative opening, the index kept sliding down in the first half and made an intraday low at 15,459.85 levels while in the dying hours the index bounced and closed with a moderate gain of 1 point at 15,576.20 levels. While Bank nifty closed at 35373 levels with a gain of 36.55 points. On the sectoral front, Nifty Metal (2.18 percent) and Nifty Auto (1.82 percent) were the top gainer while Nifty Financial Service and Nifty IT showed some profit booking. Stocks like UPL, TATASTEEL, ADANIPORT, SBILIFE & INDUSINDBNK were the top gainers, whereas ITC, TECHM, AXISBANK & KOTAKBANK were the laggards for the day.

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