New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Hours after the Drugs Controller General of India granted approval to Oxford-AstraZeneca's 'Covishield' for restricted emergency use, the vaccine's Indian manufacturer Serum Institute of India said on Sunday it intends to meet the local demand for the next two months before exporting to other nations.

Reuters reported the company's Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla as saying that the country would only be exporting to the interested countries after it has supplied a hundred million dozes to the Indian government. 

India is expected to begin the inoculation drive soon, with two candidates being granted approval by the DGCI for the restricted emergency use. Poonawalla said the government wants to ensure that "the most vulnerable people of the country get it (the vaccine) first (and) I fully endorse and support that decision."

SII had applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for EUA for Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on December 6. The following day, Bharat Biotech, a Hyderaba-based pharmaceutical firm applied for EUA for Covaxin. Both the firms were given approval for the two vaccines earlier today. 

Yesterday, the Union Health Ministry 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.

Several countries across the world, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have initiated inoculation drive, with priorities being given to healthcare workers and the elderly. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja