India has started exporting COVID-19 vaccines from January 20, paving the way for many mid-and lower-income countries to get supplies of the easy-to-store Oxford/AstraZeneca drug, of which the Centre said it plans to ship millions of doses within days.
According to the foreign ministry officials, the first doses would go to Bhutan and Maldives. Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Seychelles will also get supplies in this week's first phase, the ministry said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the vaccination drive with healthcare workers at the frontline of India's COVID-19 battle getting their first jabs on January 16.
India’s drug regulator has approved two vaccines -- Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and Covishield from the Oxford/AstraZeneca stable being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India -- for emergency use in the country.
According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.
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A total of 6.31 lakh beneficiaries have so far been vaccinated for COVID-19 through 11,660 sessions held till the evening of the fourth day of the immunisation drive, according to a provisional report of the Union Health Ministry.
On January 19, 1,77,368 beneficiaries were vaccinated till 6 pm through 3,800 sessions, the ministry said. Here is the state-wise vaccination on the day:
Here are all developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine in India:
> At least 13,693 frontline health workers received the Covishield vaccine on January 20 at 200 centres in West Bengal, a senior health department official said. Eleven cases of adverse events following Immunisation (AEFI) were reported, of which 10 cases were minor while only one person in Jhargram was undergoing treatment at the district hospital there, he said.
> The Maharashtra government said that 14,883 healthcare staffers, or 52.68 percent of the targeted beneficiaries for the day, were administered COVID-19 vaccine doses across 274 centres in the state as the inoculation drive resumed after two days.
> An expert panel of India's drug regulator CDSCO has recommended granting permission for conducting phase 1 clinical trial of an intranasal vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Bharat Biotech, official sources said.
> On the third day of the nationwide inoculation drive in Kerala, as many as 8,548 healthcare workers have taken the Covishield vaccine, taking the total vaccinated in the state to 24,558, state health minister KK Shailaja said.
> A total of 232 healthcare workers were vaccinated for COVID-19 in Himachal Pradesh on the day, Special Secretary (Health) Nipun Jindal said.
> SpiceJet has said it transported 122 boxes of COVID-19 vaccine, weighing total 4.1 tonnes, from Pune to five cities across India. This was the second round of COVID-19 vaccine transportation flights operated by SpiceJet, said the airline's spokesperson in a statement. The first round took place on January 12 and 13.Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.