Amid a sudden surge in covid cases globally due to the Omicron BF.7 variant, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed state governments to ensure operational readiness of hospital infrastructure, stressed on precaution dose vaccination for the elderly and vulnerable population, and instructed strengthening of surveillance, genome sequencing and testing.
Meanwhile, on Friday, health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya informed said that Bharat biotech nasal vaccine has been approved and will be added in CoWIN app. “It will be used as a heterologous booster and will be available first in private hospitals. It will be included in Covid vaccination program from today,” added the press brief.
Bharat Biotech’s intranasal Covid vaccine will be available in private centres, to be introduced on CoWIN on Friday evening. Bharat biotech’s Nasal vaccine, being a needless jab, will be India’s first such booster dose. It can be administered to those above 18 years. Pricing of the vaccine will be decided soon and it will be made available in government and private facilities.
Currently Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Serum Institute’s Covishield and Covovax, Russian Sputink V and Biological E Ltd’s Corbevax are listed in the CoWin portal.
Ministry of Science recognised the vaccine as the ‘World’s first intra-nasal vaccine for COVID developed by India’. The vaccine has been developed in partnership with Washington University St Louis, which has designed and developed and evaluated it in preclinical studies for efficacy.
The product development and clinical trials were funded in part by the Government of India through the Department of Biotechnology’s, Covid Suraksha program.
PM Modi, on Thursday, virtually chaired a high-level meeting to assess the Covid-19 situation in the country, preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, status of vaccination campaign and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants and their public health implications. The meeting comes in the backdrop of a spike in Covid-19 cases in China, Japan, Korea and the US among other nations. So far, India has reported three confirmed cases of the Omicron BF.7 variant.
A presentation by a team of experts to Modi showed that average daily cases in India have fallen to 153 and the weekly positivity has dropped to 0.14% in the week ending December 22. However, 590,000 daily average cases have been reported globally in the last six weeks.
The PM cautioned against complacency and advised strict vigil. He reiterated that the pandemic is not over yet and directed officials to strengthen ongoing surveillance measures, especially at international airports. He also stressed on the need to ensure that the entire Covid infrastructure is maintained at a high level of preparedness in terms of equipment, processes and human resources. He advised States to audit covid specific facilities to ensure operational readiness of hospital infrastructure, including oxygen cylinders, PSA plants, ventilators and human resources.