covaxin: After WHO approval, Covaxin is now awaiting country-specific approvals from UK, Canada and others

NEW DELHI: The World Health Organization may have released an emergency use list for Covaxin, but people fully vaccinated with the Bharat Biotech vaccine will have to wait some time before major international destinations like the Kingdom -United and Canada are not open to them.
Many countries, including these two, are currently evaluating Covaxin and may recognize it in the coming days. The UK – one of the biggest destinations for Indians – is expected to recognize Covaxin soon, knowledgeable people say.
Asked about Covaxin, a spokesperson for the British High Commission told TOI on Saturday: “The UK will continue to take a phased approach to expand our vaccine arrivals policy. Work is underway, including with international partners, to determine what other non-UK vaccines we may recognize in the future. ”
A spokesperson for the Canadian High Commission told TOI that the Covid-19 vaccines currently accepted by the country are Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2); Moderna (Spikevax, mRNA-1273); AstraZeneca / Covishield (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222) and Janssen / Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S). This list does not currently include Covaxin either.
Responding to a TOI query on Covaxin, the Canadian spokesperson for HC said: “Covid-19 drug and vaccine submissions are prioritized and reviewed in an accelerated timeframe, above usual performance standards, without compromising standards of safety, efficacy and quality, due to the public health need… .. The timing of the completion of the Health Canada review depends on many factors, including, but not limited to, the need for additional data, discussions with the sponsor, and safety information update requirements.
The medical fraternity is unhappy with “different standards adopted by different countries while granting approval to vaccines.” Delhi-based Dr Arvind Kumar, well known for his work during the Covid era, told TOI: “Vaccines are drugs developed by scientists for the benefit of mankind. Their use must be above all political or geographic considerations. Denying the benefit of these vaccines as a means of restoring some semblance of normalcy in today’s pandemic-infested world undoes the great work being done by our scientists. It should be avoided. We in the fellowship look forward to the day when the global vaccine supply is used for the good of mankind without any prejudice. ”
Even before the WHO nod, 16 countries including Australia (which still allows extremely limited entry to foreigners) had accepted Covaxin. The delay after approval to recognize Covaxin is not the first time for a vaccine made in India and approved by the WHO. The UK, for example, did not agree to India’s vaccine certification process for a few weeks even as Covishield was approved by the WHO. After the British problem, the Indian portal Co-win integrated features allowing jabbed to include their passport numbers and date of birth in their vaccination certificate.

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