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India approves first 2 COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use

India has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca for emergency use, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters Saturday. Additionally, the government authorized the emergency use of a vaccine known as COVAXIN developed locally by Bharat Biotech and the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research.

They’re the first coronavirus vaccine candidates to get the green light in India, launching a massive immunization campaign in the world’s second most populous nation, which has recorded the second largest number of COVID-19 infections after the United States.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca shot has already been approved in the United Kingdom. While its clinical trials raised questions about its efficacy, especially compared to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, it’s considered safe and is also cheaper and easier to distribute than other candidates.

Little is known about the results of COVAXIN’s clinical trials, Reuters reports.

India has two more vaccines awaiting approval, including Russia’s Sputnik V, and the country’s health regulator has also received an emergency-use application for the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. Read more at Reuters.

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