The Technical Advisory Group (TAG), an independent advisory panel of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s which had sought a few “additional clarifications" from the Covaxin, manufacturer- Bharat Biotech will meet once again on Wednesday for a final “risk-benefit assessment" for Emergency Use Listing of the vaccine. Covaxin is India’s first indigenous vaccine, which played a significant role in the country’s massive inoculation drive.
India which started its vaccination drive in a phased manner on January 16, is currently using three two-shot vaccines- Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V.
The process for approval of a vaccine by WHO consists of four steps- an acceptance of the manufacturer’s expression of interest (EOI), a pre-submission meeting between WHO and the manufacturer, acceptance of the dossier for review by WHO, decision on the status of assessment, and the final decision on approval. Due to its pending approval from WHO, the European Union and the US are not willing to allow Indians who have been vaccinated by Covaxin to enter their countries.
Here is a list of countries that have allowed Indians administered with Covaxin to enter:
1. Oman: The Indian embassy on Wednesday informed that Oman has added Covaxin to the country’s approved list of Covid-19 vaccines, which means, Indians travelling to Oman will not be required to undergo quarantine upon arrival. “All passengers from India who have received two doses of Covaxin at least 14 days before the estimated arrival date will now be able to travel to Oman without the requirement of quarantine," the embassy, located in Muscat, shared in a press release.
However, the remaining coronavirus-induced guidelines, such as pre-arrival RT-PCR test, shall continue to be applicable. “This notification will significantly ease travel to Oman for Indian nationals who have taken Covaxin. Passengers who have taken AstraZeneca/Covishield are already permitted to travel without quarantine,” the statement said.
2. Iran: Iran is allowing Indians jabbed with Covaxin to enter its country. Travelers are required proof of a negative PCR test, taken within the previous 96 hours, on arrival. The person would undergo quarantine for 14 days if test reports are not available.
3. Philippines: The Philippines’ food and drug agency has approved the emergency use of Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech. To be considered fully vaccinated, at least 14 days have elapsed following the administering of the second dose or at least 14 days after having received a single-dose vaccine.
4. Mauritius: Mauritian authorities have recognised Covaxin in their country. Fully vaccinated travelers are required to have a valid vaccination certificate showing that at least 14 days have passed since they received the second dose, except for Johnson and Johnson where it should pass at least 28 days since received a single dose before arrival in Mauritius. Travelers must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result obtained 3 – 7 days before departure from the final point of embarkation.
5. Mexico: Indians inoculated with Covaxin are allowed to travel to Mexico as country’s health regulator Cofepris has authorised the emergency use of India’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin. There are no mandatory quarantine requirements currently in effect in Mexico. However, travelers showing symptoms of Covid-19 will be subject to quarantine.
6. Nepal: Indian citizens vaccinated with Covaxin can enter the country. All travellers need to show vaccine certificate and the last dose of the Covid-19 vaccine must have been taken at least 14 days before entering the country.
7. Zimbabwe: The African country has approved the made-in-India vaccine Covaxin. On arrival, tourists and non-residents with proof of a valid negative PCR test result should expect to be required to quarantine for 10 days. Those who do not have proof of a valid negative PCR test result could be denied entry into Zimbabwe.