‘WHO Nod For Covaxin Likely In Two Weeks’
Bharat Biotech is likely to get approval from the World Health Organization in two weeks for the emergency use listing (EUL) of its Covaxin vaccine, NK Arora, who is heading the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). EUL is a WHO procedure through which it assesses the medicines, vaccines and devices used to address an outbreak classified as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’.

With the approval for EUL, Bharat Biotech will be able to supply its vaccine to other countries. The Hyderabad-based company had applied to WHO for EUL in the second week of July. With regard to the limited supply of Sputnik V vaccine in India, Arora said there is a mismatch between the manufacturing of the first and second dose of the vaccine.

~ ‘Clear picture in a week’

“Within a week or so, a clearer picture will emerge, so that it can be taken up at high speed in the health system also, as at the moment, it is available in the private sector in limited numbers. As of now, only 8-10 lakh doses of Sputnik V vaccine doses have been provided [so far],” Arora added.

With regard to vaccines of foreign manufacturers like Moderna and Pfizer, Arora said there are administrative issues such as indemnity and liability clauses. With respect to Johnson & Johnson, he said the vaccine will be manufactured here and then it will be made widely available. Being a single-dose vaccine, it will greatly complement existing vaccines, he added. On India’s aim to vaccinate all of its adult population by year-end, Arora expressed optimism about achieving the goal.

He cleared the air on reports suggesting the government’s plan to reduce the interval between two doses of Covishield. “We are studying all available evidence. Currently, we are not aware of any such proposal as to reduce the interval between the two doses of Covishield. There is also a national vaccine programme which is going to come up and be made public very soon. It will be announced in a few days,” Arora said.

~ Children vaccination

According to NTAGI’s head, the results of the Covaxin clinical trial on children will be available in October, and once the regulator allows, children with comorbidities will be eligible for immunisation.

“As we have 44 crore children, we will begin vaccinating them only after the vaccination of the adult population is complete; and that too will likely begin in the first quarter of FY22. However, as soon as the ZyCov-D vaccines are available in the market, children with comorbidities will become eligible for the inoculation,” Arora said.