Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) head Dr Balram Bhargava, in a health briefing, on Thursday asserted that deaths have been considerably reduced due to COVID-19 vaccinations in this third surge of the coronavirus infection.
Dr Bhargava while addressing a Union health briefing in Delhi today, said, "Vaccines have remained beneficial in India. Deaths have considerably reduced due to COVID-19 vaccinations. In this third surge of COVID, we are currently not witnessing severe illness and deaths due to high vaccination uptake."
Meanwhile, Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary said that the ministry will be expanding the coverage of COVID-19 vaccination and take a decision on the basis of scientific data of vaccine doses against coronavirus infection for those under 15 years of age.
"As scientific evidence evolves, we will be expanding the coverage of vaccination. We will take decisions on the basis of scientific data of COVID-19 vaccination for those under 15 years of age," the health secretary said.
As Drugs Controller General of India's (DCGI) subject expert committee (SEC) recommended the regular market approval to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech for their COVID-19 vaccines Covaxin and Covishield with conditions for the adult population, Bhushan said that a final decision of the national regulator is yet to be taken.
"SEC of CDSCO has recommended to the DCGI that two vaccines be provided market approval. A final decision of the national regulator is yet to be taken," he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, the SEC of CDSCO has recommended the upgrade of Covishield and Covaxin status from restricted use in emergency situations to grant new drug permission with conditions in the adult population, DCGI will evaluate the recommendations and give its decision.
The market authorisation for vaccines means that they can be authorized for use without reservation and conditions.
The subject expert committee during the meeting that was held last week asked both the companies to submit more data before granting market approval. Serum Institute of India had applied for market approval for Covishield in December 2021 and Bharat Biotech has also applied for the same.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)