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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: All States to Begin Vaccine Dry Run on Jan 2, Govt Panel to Review Oxford, Bharat Biotech’s Shots Tomorrow

Employees operate a filling machine inside a lab at the Serum Institute of India, in Pune. (Image: Reuters)

Employees operate a filling machine inside a lab at the Serum Institute of India, in Pune. (Image: Reuters)

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Probably we can have a Happy New Year in India with something in hand, said Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) hinting at granting approval to Covid-19 vaccines. Sources in the health ministry said that dry run for the shots are likely to be conducted next week in all states.

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: A dry run for Covid-19 vaccination will be conducted by all state and union territory administrations on January 2 to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges, the Centre said on Thursday. The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least 3 session sites.

Some states will also include districts that are situated in difficult terrain/have poor logistical support, while Maharashtra and Kerala are likely to schedule the dry run in major cities other than their capital, the Union Health Ministry said. “The objective of the dry run for Covid-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels,” the ministry said.

Probably we can have a Happy New Year in India with something in hand, said Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) hinting at granting approval to Covid-19 vaccines. Sources in the health ministry said that dry run for the shots are likely to be conducted next week in all states.

As the drug regulator seeks more information from vaccines manufacturers before emergency approval, AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria has said that India will have Covid-19 shots within days. “This is very good news that AstraZeneca got approval for its vaccine by UK regulatory authorities. They have robust data and in India and the same vaccine is being developed by the Serum Institute of India. This is a big step forward not only for India but many parts of the world,” Dr Guleria was quoted as saying by ANI.

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Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) will meet again on Friday to consider approving AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use after Britain became the first country to do so, the government said following a meeting. India wants to start inoculating its citizens next month. It is also considering emergency-use authorisation applications for vaccines made by Pfizer Inc with Germany’s BioNTech, and by India’s Bharat Biotech. Sources told Reuters the CDSCO was likely to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine this week after its local manufacturer, Serum Institute of India (SII), submitted additional trial findings.

Regulator Central Drug Standard Control Organisation’s (CDSCO) Subject Expert Committee that met yesterday rejected emergency use authorization (EUA) sought by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech for their Covid-19 vaccines. This comes amid increased number of people being tested positive and states stepping up testing. While two UK returnees in Uttar Pradesh were found to have contracted the new virus, scare remains in Delhi’s neighbouring Gurugram where sample of a 22-year-old United Kingdom return was sent for genome sequencing to ascertain the new variant after he tested positive.

In Mumbai, as many as 1,108 more air passengers arrived from European and West Asian countries, of which 322 were quarantined on Wednesday in the wake of a new COVID-19 strain being found in Britain, a senior civic official said. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said a total of 14 flights landed at the Mumbai international airport from Europe and West Asia in the last 24 hours.

Of the 1,108 passengers who arrived in these flights, 322 were kept under institutional quarantine in city hotels, while 705 were sent to other states, he said. According to the official, 81 passengers were exempted from the mandatory institutional quarantine rule on various grounds.

The civic body of Mumbai on Sunday amended its earlier SOPs about institutional quarantine of passengers arriving from European countries, including Britain, and West Asia and aligned them with those framed by the Maharashtra government. As per the amended rule, travellers will have to stay in institutional quarantine for seven days and then a week in home isolation, instead of earlier 14-day institutional quarantine norm.

The new SOPs were implemented after Britain said it has detected a new variant of coronavirus which is said to be even more transmissible than the first one.