AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Wednesday welcomed the UK government decision to approve Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the UK calling it a 'big step forward', adding that India will get COVID-19 vaccine within days.
"This is very good news that AstraZeneca got approval for its vaccine by UK regulatory authorities. They have robust data and in India and the same vaccine is being developed by the Serum Institute of India. This is a big step forward not only for India but many parts of the world," Dr Guleria told ANI in an interview.
"This vaccine can be stored at two to eight degrees centigrade. Therefore it would be easy to store and transportation. Storage can be done using a simple fridge rather than what is required in the Pfizer vaccine of minus 70 degrees centigrade," he added.
Talking about the the roll out of COVID-19 vaccine in India, Dr Guleria said, "India to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for a large part of the country and therefore we will see the vaccine available in our country in the very near future."
"Now, we have a data, and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved based on the studies in UK, Brazil and South Africa. There is also data from Serum Institute of India (SII). I think, once the data is shown to the regulatory authority, we should get approval for the vaccine in the county within a few days. I would say days rather than weeks or months," he added.
It is to be noted that Dr Guleria is a member of the national task force on Covid-19 management. Dr Guleria noted that India has a "robust plan as far as the vaccination is concerned".
"We vaccinate children and pregnant women as part of our universal immunization program. Using the same platform to store vaccines at 2 to 8 degrees centigrade, it will be easier for us to store COVID-19 vaccines," said Dr Guleria.