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India may have to wait for a few months for Pfizer, J&J jabs: Report

The Union health ministry has fast-tracked approvals for foreign-made COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorisation in other countries.

April 15, 2021 / 10:54 AM IST

The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in India could take a few months since the companies have not yet formed their strategies.

Pfizer could experience difficulties due to limited manufacturing capacity, The Times of India has reported. The companies said they would take a few days to crystallise their plans, the report said.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.

The second wave of COVID-19 cases in India has created an urgent need to expand the programme and number of vaccines available.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on April 13 said it is fast-tracking approvals for foreign-made COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EAU) in other countries.

This means that vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and J&J could potentially be approved in India.

"We have noted the recent announcement with regard to the regulatory pathway for global vaccines. We remain committed to continuing our engagement with the government towards making the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine available for use in the government's immunisation program in the country," a Pfizer spokesperson told The Times of India.

J&J has begun talks with the Centre for bridging clinical trials and approval of its vaccine against COVID-19. Pfizer had earlier applied for EUA in India but later withdrew its application after a lack of data from local clinical trials.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 15, 2021 10:40 am

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