New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With the central government aimining to launch world's largest COVID-19 vaccination drive, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) will likely approve administering two doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

According to a report by Reuters, the final decision in this regard will be announced at a press conference by the agency's chief at 11 am on Sunday. Quoting sources, the Reuters reported that the two doses of the vaccines will be administered at four weeks apart.

The expert panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has given its nod to Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccines in India. While Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use authorisation on Friday, Covaxin has got a nod for "restricted use in an emergency situation", especially in the context of infection by mutant strains.

CDSCO has recommended "grant of permission for restricted use in emergency situation in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, specially in the context of infection by mutant strains, to Bharat Biotech," the Union Health Ministry said in a statement.

CDSCO's nod to Covaxin and Covishield has paved the way for the roll-out of at least two vaccines in India in the coming days. This has also boosted the government's aim to launch the world's largest vaccination against coronavirus.

India conducts nationwide dry run for vaccine roll out

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday conducted a nationwide dry run in preparation for a massive inoculation drive. While India conducted the massive exercise to assess the situation for vaccination drive roll out, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that free vaccine would be provided in the first phase to the most prioritised beneficiaries, including one crore healthcare and two crore frontline workers.

He said that the details of how 27 crore priority beneficiaries -- those above 50 years of age and those below it having comorbidities -- would be vaccinated until July were being finalised.

"Not just in Delhi, it will be free across the country," the Union Health Minister said.

He also appealed people not to be misguided by "rumours" and disinformation regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma