New Delhi: Bharat Biotech’s Coronavirus vaccine which got the national drug regulator’s approval earlier in the day will only be used in an “emergency situation” when there is an increase in cases and there is an urgent need to vaccinate, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Sunday. Notably, the statement came after various opposition parties questioned the safety of the vaccine as it is yet to complete the third-phases clinical trials. Also Read - Face Mask No More Mandatory While Travelling With Family in Private Vehicles in Pune

“In an emergency situation when there is a sudden increase in cases & we need to vaccinate, Bharat Biotech vaccine will be used. It can also be used as a backup when we’re not sure how efficacious the Serum Institute vaccine is going to be,” news agency ANI quoted Dr Randeep Guleria as saying. Also Read - India Supplying COVID-19 Vaccines to Neighbours, Other Countries But No Request From Pakistan

“Approval clearly says ’emergency situation’ keeping in mind the circulating variant strains & at the same time, they have to continue the trial & get the data in. Once that data comes in, we’ll be more confident as far as safety and efficacy is concerned,” Guleria added. Also Read - Gurugram: Health Worker Dies Days After Receiving COVID Vaccine Jab; Official Says No Vaccination Link

The AIIMS director said that Serum Institute’s Covishield will be used for the initial phase of vaccination drive where around 3 crore people will be inoculated. By the time, he added, the data will be available for Bharat Biotech’s vaccine and it will be made available for the mass usage.

“Initially, Serum Institute vaccine will be given. They already have 50 million doses available & they’ll be able to give that in initial phase where we’ll vaccinate around 3 Cr ppl. Gradually,we’ll build on it & by the time Bharat Biotech data will also be available,” the AIIMS Director said.

Earlier in the day, the DCGI approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country. “Vaccines of Serum Institue of India and Bharat Biotech are granted permission for restricted use in emergency situation”, said DCGI Dr VG Somani today.

Covishield and Covaxin have to be administered in two doses and can be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius. The DCGI has also granted permission to Cadila healthcare for phase 3 clinical trial in India.