WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus discussed the issue of the emergency use listing of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin and resumption of supplies of the Serum Institute of India-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine to the COVAX facility among other topics during a telephonic conversation with Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
"Had a call with @mansukhmandviya, India's Health Minister, to discuss #India's ongoing #COVID19 vaccination programme; the need for a global pandemic agreement; digital health; & traditional medicine. We welcome India's support to strengthen WHO, incl. via flexible, sustainable financing," Mr Ghebreyesus tweeted on Tuesday.
The WHO Director-General said that he also discussed with Mr Mandaviya vaccine equity issues: "the resumption of SII/AstraZeneca vaccine supplies to #COVAX; the Covaxin Emergency Use Listing process; and technology and license sharing through C-TAP."
COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) was launched in May last year for facilitating timely, equitable and affordable access of COVID-19 health products by boosting their supply.
Mr Mandaviya had also tweeted that he had a "detailed interaction" with the WHO chief, accompanied by other senior officials of the global health agency "on various issues related to health, including pandemic management and WHO reforms.
"DG WHO lauded the mammoth efforts undertaken by the Indian government for #COVID19 vaccination," Mr Mandaviya tweeted.
The cumulative number of Covid vaccine doses administered in India crossed 99 crore on Tuesday and as the country is close to administering 100 crore doses. According to official figures, around 74.45 per cent of India's eligible adult population has been administered at least one dose of the Covid vaccine and around 30.63 per cent have received both doses.
On Monday, WHO said it is expecting one additional piece of information from Bharat Biotech regarding its COVID-19 vaccine COVAXIN and emphasised that it has to thoroughly evaluate to ensure vaccines are safe and "cannot cut corners" before recommending a vaccine for emergency use.
"We are aware that many people are waiting for WHO's recommendation for Covaxin to be included in the #COVID19 Emergency Use Listing, but we cannot cut corners - before recommending a product for emergency use, we must evaluate it thoroughly to make sure it is safe and effective," the global health organisation had said in a tweet.
"Bharat Biotech - the manufacturer of Covaxin - has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and WHO experts have reviewed these data. WHO is expecting one additional piece of information from the company today," it said.