COVID-19: Centre approves Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccine as booster dose
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed on Friday that the Centre has approved Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccine to be used as a heterologous booster. Named iNCOVACC, it will be India's first needle-free booster dose administered to adults. It will be available first in private hospitals and will also be added to the Co-WIN app as part of the COVID-19 vaccination program.
Why does this story matter?
- iNCOVACC was recommended by India's technical expert committee on immunization, Mandaviya informed Parliament on Thursday.
- The nasal vaccine by Hyderabad-based vaccine maker Bharat Biotech earlier received the approval of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in September.
- The intranasal vaccine by the COVAXIN manufacturer could help fight vaccine hesitancy and serve as a new weapon in India's arsenal against the deadly virus.
It will be available in private hospitals at first
Govt of India approves Nasal vaccine. It will be used as a heterologous booster & will be available first in private hospitals. It will be included in #COVID19 vaccination program from today: Official Sources pic.twitter.com/eaxVoX2Hp9— ANI (@ANI) December 23, 2022
Pricing yet to be decided
The price of the booster will be decided soon and made available in government facilities also. Currently, Co-WIN app lists Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, Serum Institute of India's (SII) Covishield and Covovax, Russian Sputnik V, and Biological E Limited's Corbevax. Informing about the approval of "Bharat Biotech's ChAd36-SARS-CoV-S COVID-19 (Chimpanzee Adenovirus Vectored) recombinant nasal vaccine" in September, Mandaviya termed it a "big boost" for India.
SII sought DCGI's approval to roll out Covovax in market
The SII sought the Drugs Controller General of India's (DCGI) approval to roll out its Covovax in the market as a booster dose for adults. Covovax is the Indian version of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax Inc and is produced by SII under a license from Novavax. The DGCI approved it in March for emergency use among adults and children aged above 12.