WHO approval for Covaxin may come by month-end, says Niti Aayog

New Delhi: The World Health Organisation’s approval for emergency use of Covaxin — which will declare it safe for use in other nations and eventually enable people receiving the vaccine to travel abroad without mandatory quarantine — can come before the end of the month, Dr VK Paul, chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, told reporters on Tuesday.

The dossier of Bharat Biotech has been under review by technical experts for consideration since July.

“We know of positive developments – data sharing, data evaluation going on through multiple reviews and we know that we are close to a decision point. We believe that a positive decision could be coming in before the month-end,” he said.

“We must give time to WHO to make their decision based on science and yet we hope that the decisions will be taken quickly because people who are receiving Covaxin have certain imperatives of travel etc, for which WHO’s concurrence is important,” added Paul, who is also a member of Niti Aayog.

Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar had told parliament that the application for pre-qualification was submitted by Bharat Biotech on July 9.

Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, has received the WHO pre-qualification.

“Based on the time taken for approval of other COVID-19 vaccines, it is estimated that the WHO process takes approximately two to three months from the date of submission,” she had said.

In June, India had a face-off with the European Union, over its reluctance to accept Indian-made vaccines as “vaccination passport”.

India had made it clear that of the EU’s stance was not changed, it would adopt a reciprocal policy regarding quarantine exemption for incoming travelers.

Thereafter, eight countries of the European Union confirmed that they will accept the India-made Covishield.


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