Delay In Covaxin Approval: Can’t Cut Corners, Says WHO

New York: Sensing that India is getting impatient over the delay in approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it cannot cut corners in making an important decision.

“We are aware that many people are waiting for WHO’s recommendation for Covaxin to be included in the #COVID19 Emergency Use Listing, but we cannot cut corners — before recommending a product for emergency use, we must evaluate it thoroughly to make sure it is safe and effective,” WHO said via a tweet on Monday evening.

WHO added it was expecting “one additional piece of information from the company”.

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, which developed Covaxin with ICMR, has been sharing data with WHO from early July.

Ironically, India’s first indigenous vaccine against the coronavirus was granted emergency use authorization by Indian drug regulator in January.

Also Read: How Many More Weeks Before WHO Approves Covaxin?

Covaxin, along with Covishield – the Oxford-AstraZeneca developed vaccine manufactured in India by Serum Institute – are being used from Day 1 (January 16, 2021) of the country’s mass inoculation programme.

But unless the two-dose Covaxin gets WHO’s nod, it won’t be accepted as a valid vaccine in several countries, thus complicating travel plans Indians who have taken it.

Of the 98.5 crore COVID vaccine doses administered in India thus far, Covaxin has accounted for 11% (about 10.7 crore). Covaxin has been exported to some countries as well who haven’t waited for WHO approval.

WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan had said on Sunday its technical advisory group will be meeting on October 26 to consider approval for Covaxin.

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