India steps up efforts to bolster trust in vaccines after nearly one-third of those invited to get shot fail to turn up.
India’s COVID-19 vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech has shown an interim vaccine efficacy of 81 percent in late-stage clinical trials, the company based in the southern city of Hyderabad said.
The interim analysis was based on 43 recorded cases of COVID-19 in the trial of 25,800 participants, conducted in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – India’s premier medical research body.
Thirty-six of the 43 cases were recorded in participants who received a placebo, compared with seven cases in people who were given the Bharat Biotech vaccine, pointing to an efficacy rate of 80.6 per cent, the company said on Wednesday.
India had approved the vaccine, branded COVAXIN, in January without late-stage efficacy data, raising questions about its effectiveness.
But the move was hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a success in India’s push towards self-reliance.
The vaccination drive in the world’s second-most populous nation, currently under way, includes COVAXIN and a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, named Covishield.
India is the country second-worst hit by COVID-19 with more than 11 million cases. Nearly 160,000 people have died due to the disease.
Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has been producing the Covishield vaccine in partnership with Oxford University and the British company.
Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Modi was inoculated with the first dose of COVAXIN. Many of his ministers followed suit, opting for the Indian vaccine.
India has vaccinated more than 10.5 million healthcare and front-line workers since beginning its immunisation campaign on January 16.
But only 1.2 million, or about 11 percent, of them, have taken the locally developed COVAXIN, while the remaining 9.4 million have used the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the government’s Co-Win online platform used to track the vaccination drive.