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.
Pfizer, which has offered 5 crore doses to India between July and October, recently held a series of interactions with Indian government authorities. The US major has told Indian authorities that its vaccine is suitable for everyone aged 12 years or above and can be stored for a month at 2-8 degrees Celsius, sources had said.
(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )