India Approves AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19) vials are seen before being packaged in a laboratory at the Serum Institute of India, Pune

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has approved COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 and Oxford University, paving the way for a major vaccination campaign in the world's second largest country.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters on Saturday that the vaccine was approved on Friday and confirmed what sources close to the matter had told Reuters.

It is the first emergency COVID-19 vaccine approved by India and has the most infections after the US.

Javadekar said at least three other vaccines were waiting in line to get approved.

"India may be the only country where at least four vaccines are ready," he said.

"One was approved for emergency use yesterday, Serum's COVISHIELD." he said, referring to the fact that the shot is being made locally by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

India has reported more than 10 million COVID-19 cases, although the infection rate has dropped significantly since mid-September.

The country hopes to vaccinate 300 million of its 1.35 billion people in the first six to eight months of 2021.

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