‘WHO expects expert committee decision on Covaxin next week’

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 29, 2021

We are in the last stage of the assessment by the external advisory group, says an official

The World Health Organization expects to have a final decision next week from the expert committee reviewing Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, a representative with the UN health agency said.

“We are in the last stage of the assessment by the external advisory group and we hope to have a final recommendation to WHO by next week,” WHO’s Dr Mariângela Simão, Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals, said on Thursday, during a media interaction at Geneva.

“We really trust Indian industry, India produces the majority of vaccines and high quality vaccines,”she said, responding to a media query from India. Pointing out that the last information from the company was given on October 18th, she said, they have been giving information “regularly and very quickly”. Further, she added that they were on “daily calls and meetings” with the company on the clarifications required.

Addressing delay concerns, she said, that an Indian manufacturer had been assessed earlier and took 30 days. Presently, she said, about eight vaccine candidates, including Covaxin, were going through the assessment process.

Vaccine status mandate for travel

WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan added that the anxiety over WHO’s listing of vaccines was also because countries were mandating the vaccine status for travel. Reiterating the WHO’s views on this, she said, governments should not use the vaccination status as a sole criterion to allow travellers, as that increased the inequity given the limited coverage of vaccination in certain countries. Negative tests and other similar proof could also be use, she added.

Published on October 28, 2021

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