Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in securing WHO approval for the Covaxin coronavirus vaccine.
Ms Banerjee flagged concerns of Indian citizens - students in particular - unable to travel abroad for now because the vaccine had not yet been approved by the World Health Organization.
"A large number of students from all over the country travel abroad every year for higher studies and many got vaccinated with Covaxin. They came to learn, later on, their vaccination is not valid abroad. These students are now in a fix... their career is at stake," the Chief Minister said.
"It is learnt Covaxin is still not approved by WHO and it is not possible to travel abroad as many countries are allowing only those fully vaccinated with WHO-approved vaccines," she added.
"Hence, I request your kind intervention so early approval is received for Covaxin so students do not face any problem. This will also benefit people travelling for any other purposes," she wrote.
Manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, Covaxin is in the process of securing an EUL, or emergency use listing from the World Health Organization.
Bharat Biotech officials and WHO authorities met Wednesday in a 'pre-submission' meeting to finalise submission of data and documents needed to secure the EUL.
No details have emerged about how the meeting went.
WHO's emergency use listing, or EUL, is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing new, or unlicensed, products that can be used during public health emergencies.
As of now only seven vaccines have been given EULs, including the AstraZeneca-Oxford University shot produced and sold in India as Covishield.
Covaxin and Covishield are the only two vaccines currently in use in India. Russia-made Sputnik V has also been cleared for use but its rollout has been delayed.
On Tuesday the national drug regulator's Subject Expert Committee recommended Phase III trial data for Covaxin that indicated it is 77.8 per cent effective in protecting against COVID-19.