Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that the country is developing seven more COVID-19 vaccines and also working on further vaccine development to inoculate every citizen of India.
He said the Centre does not have any immediate plan to make the vaccines available in the open market and a decision will be taken as the situation demands.
The COVID-9 inoculation process for people aged above 50 will start in March, he said.
“We are not dependent only on the two vaccines as the country is working on seven more indigenous vaccines. Simultaneously, we are also working on the development of more vaccines because India is a huge country and we need more players and research to reach out to everyone,” he said.
Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 infection tally climbed to 1,08,14,304 with 11,713 new cases in a day, while 1,05,10,796 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 97.19 per cent on Saturday, according to Union Health Ministry data.
There are 1,48,590 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which accounts for 1.37 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.
The total coronavirus cases mounted to 1,08,14,304 and the death count climbed to 1,54,918 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 95 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data showed.
The COVID-19 case fatality rate stood at 1.43 per cent.
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British drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Saturday its vaccine developed with the University of Oxford appeared to offer only limited protection against mild disease caused by the South African variant of COVID-19, based on early data from a trial.
The study from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand and Oxford University showed the vaccine had significantly reduced efficacy against the South African variant, according to a Financial Times report published earlier in the day.
Among coronavirus variants currently most concerning for scientists and public health experts are the so-called British, South African and Brazilian variants, which appear to spread more swiftly than others.
“In this small phase I/II trial, early data has shown limited efficacy against mild disease primarily due to the B.1.351 South African variant,” an AstraZeneca spokesman said in response to the FT report.
The newspaper said none of the more than 2,000 trial participants had been hospitalised or died.