India fast-tracks foreign vaccines, amid surge

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India is fast tracking its emergency approvals for coronavirus vaccines that have already been authorized in foreign countries, in a desperate effort to stop its massive surge of infections.

It saw the world's biggest surge earlier this month.

The move allows fast-track authorization for vaccines approved for use in the United States, UK, Europe, Japan, and World Health Organization.

Companies will no longer need to do small, local safety trials for their vaccines before seeking emergency approval, paving the way for possible imports of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna shots.

The health ministry said "the first 100 beneficiaries of such foreign vaccines shall be assessed for seven days for safety outcomes before they are rolled out.”

India is the world's biggest maker of vaccines, and has so far administered more than 106 million doses, but many states are now running short of supplies as inoculations expand under the strain of surging cases.

It is currently using the AstraZeneca shot and a homegrown vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech for its own immunization drive.

The country this week approved Russia's Sputnik V shot for emergency use.

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