COVID … Oxford Covid vaccine to reach oldies and health workers by February; others to get it by April


NEW DELHI: The Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine will be available first to health care workers and those over age 60 by February. It will be priced Rs 1,000 for two doses required for the anti-Covid jab. The general public will start getting the vaccine by April.

This was stated by Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla. He however made it clear that this is subject to regulatory approvals. Poonawalla told the media in an interaction programme that every Indian will get the vaccine by year 2024. This delay is due to logistical reasons including distribution and storage aspects, he said, adding that all-people vaccination will depend on whether all people are ready to get vaccinated.

The Serum institute has made some 40 million doses of the Oxford vaccine in October and November. India would get 10crore doses of this vaccine next month, he said, adding the distribution etc will take time.

As per WHO, more than 150 Covid vaccines are now under various stages of development. Some 44 of them are under clinical trials. Last week, US pharma giant Pfyzer and its German partner BioNtech said their vaccine too is getting ready and found to be more than 90 per cent effective. Another US drug firm, Moderna said a day ago that its vaccine is found to be 94.5 per cent effective – more effective than Pfyzer’s and Russia’s Sputnik V. Moderna’s vaccine is currently being tried in some 30,000 volunteers worldwide, and there have been no noticeable side-effects, the firm has said.

As of now, India has gained rights for access to vaccines to the extent of meeting the requirements of some 50 per cent of the population here.

India’s Covid infections crossed 90 lakh this week, with a total death toll of 1,32,000 so far since March last. Delhi and Ahmedabad are now seen as worst cases. After the Diwali celebrations, the numbers saw a big rise. As a result, Ahmedabad has promulgated a marathon 57-hour curfew from today which will stretch till Monday.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan stated on Thursday that a Covid vaccine will be available in the “next three to four months.” He was non-committal about an exact time-frame. IHN-NN


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