It has been quite a few weeks since people worldwide have started getting vaccinated. The start in India has been slow, but now people are getting out to get the first dose done.
As the cases are increasing in the country day by day, we are lucky to have three vaccine options, Covishield, Covaxin, and now Russia’s Sputnik V.
Covishield is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in association with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. On the other hand, Covaxin is an entirely indigenous vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
Recently, some reports claimed that Indians who are fully vaccinated with Covaxin could not travel abroad due to pending approval from WHO and several other countries.
What Does WHO And The Health Ministry Say?
The developers of Covaxin have denied any such claims. They insist that a pre-qualification from WHO is not a requirement for Covaxin beneficiaries to get a vaccine passport.
No country has said that Indians who got fully vaccinated with Covaxin cannot enter their territory. Bharat Biotech has said that Covaxin has acquired emergency use authorizations in 13 countries so far.
According to Bharat Biotech, regulatory approvals for Covaxin are in process in more than 60 countries like the USA, Brazil, and Hungary.
— BharatBiotech (@BharatBiotech) May 25, 2021
Sources say that it has submitted 90% of the documentation to the WHO for obtaining an emergency use listing (EUL) for Covaxin. By June, the remaining documents are expected to be submitted.
Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal said, “So far there’s no consensus at the level of WHO over this. Discussion is still being done if vaccinated people will be allowed. As of now, as per WHO guidelines and guidelines by other countries, people with a negative Covid test report are being allowed.”
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that such claims on travel ban are baseless.
He also said, “The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not taken any decision on banning people from traveling who have been vaccinated with Covaxin. Covaxin is one of the most effective vaccines to date.“
As per the official website of WHO, the latest status of Covid-19 vaccines within the WHO EUL evaluation process guidance document dated May 18 said Bharat Biotech submitted EOI (Expression of Interest) on April 19 and that “more information is required”.
Adding to that, a pre-submission meeting is expected “to be planned around May- June 2021”.
According to the guidelines provided by WHO, Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is a process by which unlicensed or new products can be used during public health emergencies.
It not only reflects a product’s safety but also its efficiency. The authorization by the WHO is required for the inclusion of any vaccine in the Covax facility.
What Is A Vaccine Passport?
A vaccine passport will be like an e-vaccination certification or proof of vaccination to travel in and out of different countries.
China revealed its digital vaccine passport last month that can be accessed via an app. This would allow people to verify their vaccination status by scanning a QR code.
Several companies within the United States are developing digital vaccine certificates for smartphone apps. Still, the US has not announced any plans for vaccine passports.
If a vaccine passport is to be put in use, the World Health Organization needs to generate a standard framework. WHO had announced plans to develop an e-vaccination certificate, but the idea of a vaccine passport is still being debated. Some privacy concerns might come with it, and it is difficult for all the countries to reach a consensus.
Get The Jab
Covaxin is being used extensively across the country, but it is yet to be approved by the countries where Indians usually travel.
Though Covaxin has gotten a lot of negative PR, many types of research and surveys have shown that it has a high efficacy percentage in fighting the virus.
Do not let any fake news or rumor fool you from not getting the vaccine. It is high time that we get vaccinated and protect ourselves from the virus. And until then it is better to stay at home and take all necessary precautions.
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