New Delhi: The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday 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.Also Read - India Being Used As Potential 'Back Door' Into Europe For Russian Oil, Suggests Report

After adequate examination, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has decided to accept the recommendations of the Expert Committee and accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situation,” Somani told reporters. Also Read - Govt Panel Recommends Emergency Approval of Serum Institute's Covovax For 7-11 Year-Olds

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. Also Read - 5 Train Rides in India That Are Worth Your Time And Money

PM Hails Approval of Vaccines

In a series of tweets after the DCGI approved Oxford’s vaccine Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for restricted emergency use, PM Modi said it will make every Indian proud that both the vaccines are made in India. “This shows the eagerness of our scientific community to fulfil the dream of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, at the root of which is care and compassion,” he said, congratulating the nation, scientists and innovators.

The Prime Minister extended his gratitude to doctors, medical staff, scientists, police personnel, sanitation workers and all ‘Corona warriors’ for the outstanding work they have done in adverse circumstances, and said the nation will remain eternally grateful to them for saving many lives.

“A decisive turning point to strengthen a spirited fight! DCGI granting approval to vaccines of @SerumInstIndia and @BharatBiotech accelerates the road to a healthier and COVID-free nation. Congratulations India. Congratulations to our hardworking scientists and innovators,” he tweeted.

Risks Finally Paid Off

Reacting to the announcement, SII chief Adar Poonawalla said, “Happy new year, everyone! All the risks SII took with stockpiling the vaccine, have finally paid off. COVISHIELD, India’s first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective, and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks.”

Who Will Get The Vaccine First? 

The vaccine will be first offered to 30 crore people–27 crore elderly, one crore healthcare workers, along with two crore frontline, essential workers.

“In the first phase, healthcare workers and frontline workers will be vaccinated. There are three lakh healthcare workers and six lakh frontline workers in Delhi who will be administered with the COVID vaccine”, said Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.