In a big boost for the war against COVID-19, Britain on Wednesday authorized emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZenecca vaccine, making it the first country to approve the vaccine that is expected to be the mainstay of India’s inoculation programme early in 2021.

While deemed less effective than the Pfizer vaccine, it easy storage and transport requirements make it the apt choice for middle and lower income countries such as India.

India being the largest producer of vaccines in the world. The Serum Institute of India (SII) has already produced nearly 50 million doses of Covishield — the vaccine’s local name in India. It is now awaiting emergency use approval from the Indian regulator, which could come very soon now that the UK has given the green light.

No better way to bring in 2021, one would say.

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