Covaxin, by no means, took the longest to get the World Health Organization's (WHO) approval for Emergency Use Listing, Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said on Wednesday, clearing the air on criticism that the health body held up the approval to the India-made vaccine but cleared Chinese jabs.
Speaking to NDTV, Dr Swaminathan said that on an average, vaccines took 50-60 days to get the Emergency Use Listing approval, but some took up to 165 days. Notably, the China-made Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines took between 150-165 days to secure the WHO's approval, she said.
"Covaxin is somewhere in the middle, it took somewhere between 90 and 100 days," Dr Swaminathan said. She said the WHO panel tasked with clearing vaccines for Emergency Use Listing met over Covaxin last week and asked for additional clarifications. "The committee met again today and were very satisfied," she said, adding that there are other 13 vaccines that are still waiting for the approval from the global health body.
The WHO's Emergency Use Listing is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing new, or unlicensed, products that can be used during public health emergencies.
The global health organisation's clearance means that the 'made-in-India' vaccine will be recognised by other countries and Indians who received the shot need not self-quarantine or face restrictions when travelling abroad.
On the impact of the clearance on Indians' travel plans, she said, "It has very significant implications. Many countries accept WHO Emergency Use Listed vaccines because it's a stamp of safety, efficacy and quality."