India is set to approve Astrazeneca vaccine today and has already stockpiled 50MILLLION doses – fifty times amount UK has ready
- The second-most populated country has 10.3 million cases and 149,000 deaths
- Jab is being manufactured by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca
- Britain will only have 530,000 doses of the vaccine at its disposal from Monday
India is set to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine today and has already stockpiled 50 million doses which is 50 times the amount the UK has ready to go.
The second-most populated country has the highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world, after the United States, with 10.3 million cases and 149,000 deaths.
Meanwhile India has dwarfed the UK which has one million doses ‘on the shelf’ for the rollout next week with a further two million available by the middle of January.
India is set to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca (pictured) vaccine today and has already stockpiled 50 million doses which is 50 times the amount the UK has ready to go
The jab, being manufactured by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, is also being made by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
A source has revealed that the jabs could start to be transported from cold storage to Indian states as early as tomorrow while Britain and Argentina have authorised the vaccine for urgent public use.
SII said in an email it would ‘wait for the final approval to come’ before commenting.
India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), whose experts were meeting for the second time this week, could also approve a vaccine locally developed by Bharat Biotech, two of the sources said on condition of anonymity.
‘Both AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech will get approval today,’ said one of the sources. ‘All preparations are on with today’s date in mind.’
Top experts, including members of SAGE, have warned ministers they need to ramp up weekly vaccination rates sevenfold to 2million by mid-January to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed this winter. Currently about 280,000 Brits are being inoculated each week
The other sources were less certain about Bharat Biotech’s prospects.
‘We are hopeful,’ another source said about the vaccine developed with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research.
A CDSCO representative declined to comment. The group is meeting a day ahead of a nationwide trial run for vaccine delivery in the country.
India’s government said on Wednesday that Pfizer Inc had sought more time to present data for emergency authorisation of a vaccine it has developed with Germany’s BioNTech.
Britain will only have 530,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at its disposal from Monday, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed on Wednesday after the game-changing jab was approved by the UK medical regulator.
Britain will only have 530,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at its disposal from Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted today
The initial doses fall significantly short of the number touted by the Government in recent months.
In May, officials suggested 30million doses of Oxford’s jab would be ready by the end of the year and last month the UK’s vaccine tsar toned the estimate down to 4million, citing manufacturing problems.
But the UK has ordered 100million doses in total and AstraZeneca has promised to deliver 2million a week by mid-January, raising hopes that 24million of the most vulnerable Britons could be immunised by Easter.
In a bid to speed up the roll out, Britain’s regulators are now recommending the jab is given in two doses three months apart, rather than over a four-week period, allowing millions more to be immunised over a shorter time period.
But ministers face the mammoth challenge of trying to rapidly ramp up vaccination capacity to curb the spread of a highly-infectious mutant strain racing across the country.
Only about 280,000 Brits are being inoculated against Covid each week and NHS workers — who play a critical role in administering the vaccines — are dealing with record numbers of hospital patients.
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