November 16, 2021 - 9:02 am

Covaxin Gets International Legitimacy

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved Hyderabad-based vaccine maker Bharat Biotech's Coaxing for emergency use listing (EUL). The WHO clearance is a significant step in Coaxing being accepted by foreign governments. It will remove uncertainty around overseas travel by Indians inoculated with this vaccine.

                           Coaxing is one of the six vaccines that have received emergency use authorization from India's drug regulator and is being used in the nationwide inoculation program along with Covishield and Sputnik V. Being an inactivated virus vaccine, it is somewhat more complex to manufacture. Nevertheless, in spite of some Government support, the company has not been able to scale up the degree required to keep its end of the vaccination programmer going. Now that India has moved beyond this immediate questions of approval, it is important to take stock of how swiftly the broader target of vaccinating the entire country is progressing.

                           The government has other questions it was now consider about the vaccination program. There is anecdotal evidence that some of those willing to get the first shot are reluctant to follow it up as mandated. This must be addressed through focused outreach and targeted policy. The conversation about mandates cannot be postponed much longer.

                           It is also important to now seek out scientific data and consensus on whether booster shots of the vaccines being used in India are required to ensure continued, protections against the virus and especially against the Delta variant. Many countries elsewhere have started rolling out booster programmers -  some of which involve mixing and matching vaccines. Having seen the agony of the second wave, it is vital to boost the production to overcome the fear of upcoming waves, if any.