Saturday, Jul 02, 2022

Covaxin Gets WHO Nod For Emergency Use: What That Means For Indian Travelers

The announcement has come as a great relief to the millions of Indians including—students, professionals and businessmen jabbed with Covaxin who intend to travel abroad.

WHO approves Covaxin.(File photo)

With World Health Organisation (WHO’s) granting its approval to India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, the news has certainly brought cheer to the 15 crore Indians who are recipients of the vaccine. 

WHO granted emergency use approval for Covaxin, a step which Bharat Biotech hailed as a"significant" one towards ensuring wider global access to the indigenously developed jab.

What the WHO approval for emergency use means

The approval has put Covaxin on the list of WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines including Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Sinopharm and Sinovac. 

WHO’s approval for Covaxin would add to the confidence of other nations in accepting the fact that the vaccine is safe for international travel, and can be shown as an accepted vaccine on passports for the purpose of travelling abroad.

What it means for Indians travelling abroad

The announcement is a great relief to the millions of Indians including—students, professionals and businessmen jabbed with Covaxin, who particularly intend to travel abroad. The two-dose shot by Bharat Biotech was recently approved by several countries including Australia and Oman who now allow Indians vaccinated with both shots of Covaxin to enter without quarantining. However, several countries continue to deny approval to Covaxin including the US and several European nations.

Vaccines approved by the WHO for emergency use are usually considered as approved by all countries except the ones who follow their own drug regulators such as the United States' FDA or the EMA in Europe.

The approval by WHO is likely to expedite the process of approval by other countries that have still not approved Covaxin for travel. This means that Indians hoping to travel to the US or other European nations may soon breathe a sigh of relief. 

How India reacted to the WHO approval

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has welcomed the decision of WHO approval for Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin.

He said it was also a global recognition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.

"Welcome @WHO's decision to grant Emergency Use Listing to #COVAXIN. It facilitates travel for many Indian citizens and contributes to vaccine equity. Also a global recognition to PM @narendramodi's vision of an #AtmanirbharBharat. A Happier Diwali," Jaishankar tweeted.

Many in India have been hailing the WHO approval of Covaxin's emergency use as a 'Diwali gift'.