The Centre has approved Biological E’s Corbevax as a Covid-19 precaution dose for those above 18 years fully vaccinated with either Covishield or Covaxin. This is the first time a booster dose that is different from the one used for primary vaccination has been allowed in India.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “Corbevax will be available as precaution dose after completion of six months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of the second dose of either Covaxin or Covishield vaccines for population above 18 years.”
This will be in addition to the existing guidelines for homologous precaution dose administration of Covaxin and Covishield vaccines. India’s first indigenously developed RBD protein subunit vaccine Corbevax is currently being used to inoculate children in the age group of 12 to 14 years under the Covis-19 immunisation programme.
The Covid-19 Working Group (CWG), in its July 20 meeting, reviewed data of the double-blind randomized phase-3 clinical study which evaluated the immunogenicity and safety of booster dose of Corbevax vaccine when administered to Covid-19-negative adult volunteers of age 18-80 years previously vaccinated with two doses of either Covishield or Covaxin.
“Following the examination of the data, the CWG observed that Corbevax vaccine can induce significant increase in antibody titers when given to those who have received either Covaxin or Covishield, which is likely to be protective as per the neutralization data also,” the source said.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on June 4 approved Corbevax as a precaution dose for those aged 18 and above. India began administering precaution doses of vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10.
“BE has furnished clinical trials data to the DGCI who after a detailed evaluation and deliberation with Subject Experts Committee, granted their approval for administering Corbevax vaccine as a heterologous booster dose”, the vaccine manufacturer had said in a statement on June 4.
“We are very happy with this approval, which will address the need for Covid-19 booster doses in India. We have crossed yet another milestone in our Covid-19 vaccination journey. This approval reflects once again the sustained world class safety standards and high immunogenicity of Corbevax,” Mahima Datla, Managing Director of Biological E Ltd, said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 4 urged people to take precaution or booster dose of vaccines against COVID-19 when the cases of the viral infection are increasing in the country. He made the appeal after inaugurating, through video link, various projects of the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission including a 250-bed multi-speciality hospital at Dharampur in Gujarat’s Valsad district.
“I urge all present here to take precaution dose of Covid-19 vaccine. On the completion of 75 years of independence, the government has started a campaign of giving free vaccine doses for 75 days, Modi said,” addressing the huge gathering virtually.
“We should ensure that everybody in our family and our area or village takes the precaution dose,” the PM added. The appeal from the prime minister came as new coronavirus cases have steadily risen in various parts of the country in the last few days.
The country began inoculating children aged 12-14 from March 16 and also removed the comorbidity clause making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose of Covid vaccine. India on April 10 began administering precaution doses of Covid-19 vaccines to all aged above 18 years.
(with inputs from agencies)