India approves vaccines as nations fight virus resurgence

India on Sunday approved the emergency use of two Covid-19 vaccines to kick off one of the world’s biggest inoculation drives, while the European Union offered to help drug companies expand production to ease distribution bottlenecks.

India, the second-worst affected country, has authorised use of shots developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and by local pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech, the country’s drug regulator said.

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest manufacturer of vaccines, has said it is making between 50 and 60 million doses a month of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which is cheaper than the Pfizer-BioNTech jab and easier to store and transport.

India has set an ambitious target of inoculating 300 million of its 1.3 billion people by mid-2021.

Countries around the globe are hoping that the roll-out of vaccines will bring under control a pandemic that has infected 84.6 million people and killed more than 1.8 million since it first emerged in China just over a year ago.

 

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