Why Indian travellers are concerned about Covaxin’s WHO approval?

Covaxin is not on WHO list at the moment and the international travel for the vaccinated people might get restricted.

Indians are hopefully looking at their passports are in a bind with Covid-19 vaccinations.

There are three vaccines which are permitted for use in India, out of them only one that is Covishield is registered on the emergency use listing (EUL) of the World Health Organization (WHO). This listing is significant because many countries are now using it as a standard for permitting vaccinated foreign nationals to travel. For example, on-campus classes in many educational institutions in the US students are required to be vaccinated with one of those in the WHO’s EUL.

India’s local Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, and Russia’s Sputnik V are both permitted for use in the country but have not been given permission by EUL status by the WHO. Indian Students who study in other countries are mainly worried with this situation and even people who have already got the Covaxin jabs are tensed if it would affect their international travel plans. “Vaccine passports are not a reality right now, but if they were to be implemented and Covaxin doesn’t make it to the WHO list, I will not be able to visit my daughter in the UK,” says Shama Gupta, a 56-year-old resident of New Delhi.

To solve this hassle, both Bharat Biotech and The Gamaleya National Center, the maker of the respective vaccines, have sent their papers to the WHO to grant them the necessary permissions.

Bharat Biotech, has put forward its letter of interest on April 19, and the WHO has marked its request with a note for “more information required.” Another measure is a pre-submission meeting between the WHO committee and Bharat Biotech is decided for June. The vaccine manufacture has said that it has sent “90% of the documents” mandatory for WHO’s permissions.

The vaccine permission processes is very confidential.

Bharat Biotech’s situation is also a bit complex by the fact that it has not yet finalised the phase 3 trials for Covaxin and not printed its effectiveness record in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. On the basis of an analysis, Bharat Biotech has said through a press release that its jab is 78% effective.

It is anticipated that most of the countries will be going by WHO’s EUL list and may open their borders but the list does not add Covaxin yet.

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