India approves 2 coronavirus vaccines

India has authorized the emergency use of two coronavirus vaccines, the first time the country has approved vaccines for COVID-19.

The country's drug regulator said on Sunday that final approval has been granted for a vaccine developed by the British firm AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, as well as another developed by the Indian company Bharat Biotech.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the country has surpassed 10 million, second only to the United States.

The government plans to start administering vaccines to a first group that includes healthcare workers soon. It aims to inoculate 300 million people by summer.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the approvals. On Twitter he called the development "A decisive turning point to strengthen a spirited fight!"

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was given go-ahead by the British government on December 30. In India it is being made by the Serum Institute of India.

The firm has already prepared about 50 million doses. It plans to increase production to 100 million a month by the end of 2021.