Covaxin, from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech preferred by Indian politicians

Wednesday, 03 March 2021 - 18:25

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A wave of government ministers in India this week got vaccinated with a locally-produced but unproven COVID-19 jab from Bharat Biotech after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the shot on Monday morning according to foreign media reports.

The injections come as India's government attempts to rapidly scale up its vaccination campaign by deploying the 'Made-in-India' jabs.

"Got my jab. For the curious, it was [Bharat Biotech's] #Covaxin," Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India's minister of external affairs, said on Twitter on Monday evening. "Felt secure, will travel safely."

India's government approved Covaxin, the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech, in January even though the efficacy of the vaccine was unknown. Bharat Biotech's vaccine is likely safe, according to phase I trial data from a small group of volunteers that the company published in the peer-reviewed medical The Lancet.

But nearly two months after being approved in India, Bharat Biotech has not published data saying that the vaccine is effective in preventing COVID-19 infections.

Still, the vaccine seems to have won the full support of the Indian government.

“Made-in-India vaccines are 100% safe,” Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said after receiving the vaccine on Tuesday.