NEW DELHI: The WHO assessment for approving Covaxin has been deferred by a month. It has now said it will take a decision on including it in the emergency use list by September.
The agency and Covaxin developer Bharat Biotech had earlier said a decision on the recognition of the vaccine was likely in August.
A senior WHO official has now said that the agency’s assessment of the made-in-India Covaxin is at an advanced stage and a decision on emergency authorisation for Bharat Biotech’s vaccine is likely by mid-September.
Covaxin is still to be authorised in Western countries, leading to hassle to thousands of students and other professionals who have taken the vaccine in India but are moving to these countries.
Mariangela Simao, a WHO assistant director-general for vaccines, said the UN health agency’s assessment of this vaccine was “quite advanced” and officials hoped for a decision by mid-September.
Meanwhile, following a meeting with WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Thursday, the Union health minister tweeted, “We had a productive discussion on WHO’s approval of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.”
As per data released by Bharat Biotech from its late-stage clinical trials, the vaccine, developed jointly with ICMR, was found to be nearly 78% effective against symptomatic infection but many experts say its efficacy against more transmissible variants still needs to be assessed.