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, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.

Congratulating the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “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.”

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan tweeted, “A watershed moment in India’s famed battle against COVID-19 under the leadership of PM Modi. Our wait for the vaccine is over with Covishield from Serum Institue of India and Covaxin from Bharat Biotech approved for emergency use in India.”

Home Minister Amit Shah also said that “visionary leadership can make a huge difference. Time and again, we have seen a New India eager to innovate and help the humanity during crisis. The approval to Made in India vaccines will prove to be a game changer in boosting PM Narendra Modi’s vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said he’s proud of scientists who made this vaccine possible in a short period of time. He tweeted, “India today takes a giant step towards decisively defeating the COVID-19 Pandemic with DCGI granting approval to vaccines of @SerumInstIndia and @BharatBiotech. We are proud of our scientists who made this vaccine possible in a very short span of time.”

Union minister Smriti Irani called the emergency use approval of the indigenous vaccine a watershed moment. She tweeted, “Approval to indigenously made vaccines is a watershed moment in our fight against COVID-19 virus & a defining chapter in our journey towards building an #AatmaNirbharBharat. Heartiest congratulations & gratitude to our scientists for their dedication & determination.”

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati congratulated the scientists associated with the coronavirus vaccine and urged the Centre to make it available for the poor free of cost.

In a tweet in Hindi, Mayawati said, “The ‘swadeshi’ anti-Covid vaccine is welcome and congratulations to the scientists. A request to the Central government is that along with all the health workers, if the extremely poor people get the vaccine free of cost, then it will be appropriate.”

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, however, said that the approval is premature.

“The Covaxin has not yet had Phase 3 trials. Approval was premature and could be dangerous. @drharshvardhan  should please clarify. Its use should be avoided till full trials are over. India can start with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the meantime,” he tweeted.

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