WHO backs emergency listing of India's first home-grown Covid-19 vaccine

Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, was authorised by India’s drug regulator in January

The World Health Organisation has approved Covaxin, India’s first home-grown Covid-19 vaccine, for emergency use.

The vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech, is the eighth Covid vaccine to be backed by the WHO for emergency use.

“This emergency use listing expands the availability of vaccines, the most effective medical tools we have to end the pandemic,” said WHO's Dr Mariangela Simao.

“But we must keep up the pressure to meet the needs of all populations, giving priority to the at-risk groups who are still waiting for their first dose, before we can start declaring victory.”

Covaxin was also reviewed by WHO's strategic advisory group of experts on immunisation, which recommended its use in two doses, with an interval of four weeks, in over-18s.

The vaccine is made using a killed coronavirus to prompt an immune response and is given in two doses.

India’s drug regulator authorised Covaxin in January, months before extensive testing in people had been completed, prompting concern from health experts that the shot was given the nod prematurely.

Covaxin joins a range of WHO emergency-cleared vaccines from AstraZeneca, China’s Sinopharm Group and Sinovac Biotech, Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.

Updated: November 3rd 2021, 2:13 PM