New Delhi, May 22: India is undertaking the COVID-19 immunisation programme, apparently the largest in the world, with three vaccines - Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V. While Covishield, developed by Oxford University-AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India, is widely accepted in the world, Russia's Sputnik V has got approval in limited countries. Covaxin, made by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, is not among approved vaccines in major countries. Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Suspension: European Countries' Decision More Political Than Scientific? Report Says Pfizer Vaccine Has More Blood Clot Cases.
With multiple countries having announced or about to frame travel policies for vaccinated people, Indians, who received Covaxin and in some cases Sputnik V, may not get to travel abroad. It is mainly because the World Health Organisation (WHO) has so far not included Covaxin and Sputnik V in its Emergency Use Listing (EUL). COVID-19 vaccines, made by Oxford-AstraZeneca (Serum), Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen and China's Sinopharm are on the EUL. From Fastest Finger First For Booking a Vaccine Slot Online to Arranging a Day's Meal, India is Divided by Privilege, United by Plight.
Sputnik V, yet to be approved by the WHO, has got approval in limited countries. But, Covaxin, touted as India's first indigenously developed vaccines against COVID-19, has been approved by less than 10 countries so far and none of them being the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Australia or New Zealand. Apart from India, countries that approved Covaxin are Guyana, Iran, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Paraguay, Philippines and Zimbabwe.
Moreover, Covaxin is not a subject of trials anywhere outside India. In addition, Indian government's move to approve the vaccine before its final phase trial runs ignited negative publicity and raised doubts. Covaxin may get approval in future but it might take time. With many countries now restoring to "vaccine passport", incoming passengers are checked for proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Countries are either considering vaccines approved by their own regulatory bodies, or those on the WHO's EUL.
Thus, Indians, given Covaxin, may not get to travel to foreign countries at least in the initial months of international travel. Also, Sputnik V, is yet to get approval in major countries like the US and Britain. Hence, the demand for Covishield may rise in India if the other two vaccines do not receive approval in other countries.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 22, 2021 12:43 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).