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News18 Afternoon Digest: India Formally Approves Oxford-AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech Vaccines & Other Top Stories

Vials with a sticker reading,

Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of an AstraZeneca logo. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

Here are the top stories we are covering this afternoon: India officially gets vaccines against Covid-19 as DCGI approves Oxford-AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech shots; Modi says India at a decisive turning point after vaccines get EUA; Adar Poonwalla wishes India Happy New Year on vaccine approval; Akhilesh says govt shouldn’t make 'spectacle' out of vaccination drive; Boris Johnson could lose his seat in next election, says poll; Rohit Sharma fans bring out the bill memes as Indian cricketers order controversy for lunch; Sunny Leone to enter Bigg Boss to celebrate New Year.

India Officially Gets Vaccines Against Covid as DCGI Approves Oxford-AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech Shots

India officially has two vaccines against Covid-19 with the Drugs Controller General of India Dr VG Somani announcing emergency use approvals for Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech shots. Addressing the media virtually, Somani said both vaccines will be administered in two doses and stored at 2 to 8 degrees. The regulator also granted approval to Cadila Healthcare to conduct Phase III clinical trial of its vaccine candidate. The Subject Expert Committee had recommended both vaccines for approval in the last two days. The process for the final approval was expected to be a formality given the urgency for a vaccine in the country, but all eyes were on the dosage regime to be followed. LIVE UPDATES HERE

A Decisive Turning Point, Says Modi as Oxford-AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech Vaccines Get Emergency Use Approval

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the nation and thanked the scientific and healthcare community on Sunday after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) officially approved Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use. Taking to Twitter, Modi said the announcement marks a “decisive turning point” in India’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic. He added that every India would be proud that both vaccines are “made in India”. READ MORE

'Risk of Stockpiling Has Finally Paid Off': SII's Adar Poonwalla Wishes India Happy New Year on Vaccine Approval

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday gave emergency-use approval to COVISHIELD, India’s home-grown coronavirus vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, and the other by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Soon after the DGCA made the announcement on the approval of the vaccines, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, wished a "Happy new year" to the people of the country. COVISHIELD is set to become India's first vaccine against the pandemic. Poonawalla made the big announcement on Twitter on Sunday morning, saying, “Happy new year, everyone! All the risks @SerumInstIndia 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 (SIC),” he wrote on Twitter. READ MORE

Drubbed for 'BJP Vaccine' Remark, Akhilesh Says Govt Shouldn’t Make 'Spectacle' Out of Vaccination Drive

In damage control mode after refusing to take “BJP’s vaccine”, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said the ruling party should not make a "spectacle" out of Covid-19 vaccination and should launch the inoculation drive only after making solid arrangements in advance. Taking to Twitter, Yadav also asked the government to announce the dates on which economically weaker sections of the population will be vaccinated. READ MORE

UK PM Boris Johnson Could Lose His Seat, Majority in Next Election, Says First Post-Pandemic Poll

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on course to lose his own seat and neither of the two main political parties is likely to win an outright majority at the next general election, not due until 2024, according to a new poll. This is the first detailed survey of the public's perception of Johnson's handling of the recently concluded Brexit talks and the Covid-19 pandemic after he reversed plans to allow families to meet up at Christmas in parts of southern England to combat the spread of the virus. READ MORE

Rohit Sharma Fans Bring Out the Bill Memes as Indian Cricketers Order Controversy for Lunch

While the ongoing Test series between hosts Australia and the Indian squad has already seen a lot of action on the field, it was an outing by the Indian cricketers that has become the major talking point on social media. Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini, and Prithvi Shaw have been put in isolation as both the Australian and Indian cricket boards launched an investigation into a video in which they are seen sitting indoors in a restaurant and suspected to be in breach of Cricket Australia's bio-security protocols. READ MORE

Sunny Leone to Enter Bigg Boss to Celebrate New Year on Salman Khan's Invitation

Actress Sunny Leone will enter the Bigg Boss house in the avatar of a doctor, and give a reality dose to the contestants. In a promo released by the show makers, an excited Sunny is seen saying that superstar host Salman Khan has invited her to the show to start the New Year with a bang. The video clip also features Monalisa, Surbhi Chandna and Sharad Malhotra. In another clip, Sunny shared that she will enter the house as Doctor Sunny. "Hi Bigg Boss! How are you? I am here to check you and your housemates' health. Doctor Sunny. So the appointment is fixed. With me. Saturday, 9pm," she said. READ MORE


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