India has given the greenlight to Biological E’s Corbevax as a precautionary dose that can be taken by anyone over 18 years after two doses of Covishield or Covaxin.

This approval comes two months after the Drugs Controller General of India had given its go-ahead to Corbevax as a heterologous Covid booster dose – a first of sorts in the country (heterologous boosting involves giving a vaccine dose different from the two primary doses).

The precautionary dose can be given after six months, or 26 weeks from the administration of the second dose of Covaxin or Covishield, said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, making heterologous boosting official in a letter to the States on Wednesday.

The latest decision will not change the existing guidance on homologous boosting, he added, where the primary and precautionary doses are of the same vaccine type.

Changes have been made on the Co-WIN portal, so those eligible could opt for the heterologous booster, the letter said, adding that the option would go live from August 12.

Over 200 crore doses have been administered in the country. Over 97 per cent in the 12 years-plus age group have been given a single dose, and over 89 per cent in the same age group have been given both doses, said the letter. Corbevax had been approved for 12-14 year-olds to start with.

Anticipating the Centre’s approval and the subsequent requirement for more vaccine stocks, Biological E’s Chief Operating Officer, Lakshminarayan Neti, had told BusinessLine in a recent interaction: “We have lot of headroom to serve India and the global community.” Biological E’s stated production stands at 10 crore a month.

In fact, the company has also initiated the process of getting an EUL from the WHO. An EUL would pave the way for a wider uptake of the vaccine, especially in countries that have limited regulatory facilities.

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