WHO Approves Covaxin — What Does This Mean? Can I Travel Abroad?

In a series of tweets, the WHO said that Covaxin meets their standards. But what does this mean?

2 min read
Hindi Female

In a series of tweets, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that their experts have determined that India's indigenous Covaxin meets WHO standards.

What exactly does this Emergency Approval Listing mean? Can I now travel to different countries after taking Covaxin?

Here's all you need to know.


Who is Covaxin recommended for?

Covaxin, India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, was reviewed by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), which recommended the use of this vaccine in two doses, with a dose interval of four weeks, in all age groups 18 and above.

What about pregnant women? Is Covaxin approved for them?

Available data on vaccination of pregnant women with the Covaxin is insufficient to assess safety or efficacy in pregnancy, says the WHO. Studies are underway to assess the same, WHO tweet added.

However, the WHO has clarified that it recommends the use of BBV152 vaccine in pregnant women if the benefits of vaccination to the pregnant woman outweigh the potential risks.


Why is a WHO recommendation important?

The recommendation by WHO means that those who have received two doses of Covaxin will be considered "fully vaccinated."

The EUL will now allow other countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer Covaxin. The same process was followed for other WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines.


Does this mean I can travel to other countries?

Not exactly. Countries will still have to clear Covaxin for travel purposes.

For example, while Covishield is a WHO-approved vaccine, the European Medical Agency (EMA) has not included Covishield in its list of approved vaccines. After a lot of heated debate, a few countries within the European Union like Germany and France, recognised the vaccine.

Similarly, the UK took its time in recognising Covishield and had said at the time that those who have got 2 shots of Covishield will still be considered "unvaccinated" when entering the country. Eventually they recognised Covishield, but raised issues with the vaccine certificates India issues.

What about the United States? Does this mean they will recognise Covaxin now?

As of November 8, the US will ease travel restrictions and has said that those who have received WHO-approved vaccines, will be able to travel with little fuss. Now that the WHO has recognised Covaxin, the same rule should apply for it. But they may have to still add it to their list of recognised vaccines. Clarity on this will need to be sought.

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Topics:  COVID-19 FAQ 

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