Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said that all the risks that the company took has finally paid off with its coronavirus vaccine Covishield being approved for emergency use. Serum had stockpiled around 40-50 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, which Poonawalla said was a risk. "Happy new year, everyone! All the risks Serum Institute took with stockpiling the vaccine, have finally paid off. COVISHIELD, India's first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks," he said in a tweet.
In a follow-up tweet, Poonawalla thanked PM Modi, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, ICMR, Department of Biotechnology, DCGI, Oxford University, AstraZeneca, GAVI alliance, Gates Foundation and Bill Gates for their support.
PM Modi took to social media to congratulate the two companies as well as Indians for the approval of the vaccines. "It would make every Indian proud that the two vaccines that have been given emergency use approval are made in India! This shows the eagerness of our scientific community to fulfil the dream of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, at the root of which is care and compassion. We reiterate our gratitude to doctors, medical staff, scientists, police personnel, sanitation workers and all Corona warriors for the outstanding work done, that too in adverse circumstances. We will remain eternally grateful to them for saving many lives," he said in a series of tweets.
WHO has also welcomed the move and said the decision would help India intensify and strengthen the fight against coronavirus. "WHO welcomes the first emergency use authorisation given to COVID-19 vaccine in the WHO South-East Asia Region. This decision taken today by India will help intensify and strengthen the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the Region. The use of vaccine in prioritised populations, along with continued implementation of other public health measures and community participation will be important in reducing the impact of COVID-19," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia Region.
The DCGI, on Sunday, announced that it has approved Oxford-AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine as well as Bharat Biotech's candidate Covaxin for emergency use. "After adequate examination, CDSCO has decided to accept the recommendations of the Expert Committee and accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situation," said the DCGI. Both the vaccines would need to be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius, said the drug regulator.