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PM To Launch Vaccination Drive, 3000 Sites In Phase 1: NITI Aayog Member



Days before the beginning of world’s largest inoculation drive against the novel coronavirus, a senior official of government’s COVID-19 task force has said that “local clinical trials are must” for Pfizer and other vaccine candidates for emergency use approval in India.

Pfizer, which has been approved in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), was the first COVID-19 vaccine candidate that had applied for emergency use authorisation in India.

The company, however, was not granted authorisation by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Later, Pfizer said that it had sought for more time from the central government to present its data.

According to Health Ministry officials, the government asks for “bridging trials to determine if a vaccine is safe and generates an immune response in its citizens” whose genetic makeup can be different from people in western nations. However, there are provisions under the New Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules, 2019, to waive such trials in certain conditions.

While speaking to Reuters, Dr Paul said that Sputnik V, which is undergoing last-stage trials in India after completing a Phase 2 study, will apply for emergency use authorisation soon.

He, however, told Reuters that “no vaccine maker will be given indemnity by the government should something go wrong”.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest vaccination drive against COVID-19 will begin from January 16 and around 3 lakh healthcare workers will get a vaccine jab against the novel infection on the day 1 of the inoculation drive. The vaccines will be provided for free to healthcare staff and frontline workers during the first phase of vaccination.

The DCGI had approved AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford’s Covishield, which is locally being manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for emergency use approval in the country earlier this month.

The government has also distributed 16.5 million doses of the two approved vaccines to states, with a plan to deliver 600 million jabs to the most vulnerable people in the next six to eight months. Serum Institute has stockpiled 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and says it will raise its monthly output to much more than that now the approval has come.


Lucknow Nagar Nigam to manufacture tiles using construction debris



Lucknow: Lucknow Municipal Corporation is expected to start its long pending project of making interlocking tiles from the construction debris produced in the city. As per civic officials, the project is slated to start by the end of March.

According to LMC officials, construction work of the boundary walls for its upcoming plant near SGPGI has been completed and machines to produce the tiles are being purchased from Ahmedabad. LMC plans to purchase about five such machines with each having a capacity of 20 tonnes to manufacture tiles. The civic body has also estimated to produce about 800-1,000 interlocking tiles by using 100 metric tonne of construction debris.

The construction debris to produce interlocking tiles will be obtained from municipal corporations undergoing projects. LMC will also look to obtain debris  from private construction after charging its fee. As per LMC records, more than 800 metric tonne of construction debris is daily produced in Lucknow.

The project will be run on PPP (public-private partnership) model where the company responsible for running and producing the tiles will be given a certain amount of revenue generated to LMC every year. At first, the civic body will use these tiles in its own project and then try to sell its product to several construction material outlets and other concerned government departments like UPPWD and LDA.

LMC environment engineer Pankaj Bhusan said, “We are trying to kickstart the project before Holi. At first, we will produce interlocking bricks and later on we will try to produce tiles and marbles being used in households and flats.

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