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Pfizer applies for emergency coronavirus vaccine use in India: Report

NEW DELHI: Pfizer has applied for emergency use authorisation of its coronavirus vaccine in India, media said yesterday, the first to do so in a country with the world's second highest number of infections.

The US company, whose vaccine was recently approved by the British government, has written to the Drugs Controller General of India, CNN-News18 reported, citing a government source.

A government official told Reuters that no application had been received as of Saturday night. Pfizer could not immediately be reached.

Indian officials have said they are pinning their hopes mainly on locally tested vaccines instead of those developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

The Pfizer shot needs to be stored at minus 70 deg C or below, temperatures that most Indian cold storages cannot reach. India has reported more than 9.57 million Covid-19 cases, behind only the US with nearly 140,000 deaths.

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Meanwhile, Britain is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine this week, initially making the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to doctors' clinics, the government said yesterday.

The first doses are set to be administered tomorrow, with the National Health Service giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, front-line healthcare workers and care home staff and residents.

Britain gave emergency use approval for the vaccine last week. About 800,000 doses are expected to be available within the first week.

Initial doses that have arrived from Belgium are being stored in secure locations, where they will be quality-checked, the Health Ministry said. - REUTERS

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