New Zealand adds Covaxin, Covishield to list of recognised Covid-19 vaccines
In a tweet, Muktesh Pardeshi, India's high commissioner to New Zealand, described this as a ‘positive decision.’
After Australia, its trans-Tasman neighbour, New Zealand, too, has recognied Covaxin and Covishield, the two most widely-used vaccines in India's vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The announcement in this regard was made by Muktesh Pardeshi, India's high commissioner to the island nation, who described it as a ‘positive’ decision by the New Zealand government.
“In a positive decision, NZ includes #covishield and #covaxin in the list of 8 recognised vaccines. We keenly await lifting of travel restrictions. India is already open to vaccinated tourists,” Pardeshi tweeted.
The decision means that Indian nationals, who have taken both doses of either jab (inoculated with two doses, both from the same vaccine), will not have to quarantine upon touching down in New Zealand. The country's neighbour, Australia, recognised Covishield and Covaxin on October 1 and November 1, respectively.
Overall, India has mutual vaccination certificates with 96 countries, as announced recently by Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
The New Zealand government's decision, meanwhile, comes at a time when India has, for the first time since March last year, opened its borders for fully vaccinated foreign travellers. Under the rule, which came into effect from November 15, passengers from countries with which India has mutual vaccination certificates will not have to undergo a post-arrival Covid-19 test, which is, however, mandatory for people coming from the other nations.
Covaxin and Covishield were the first two jabs to receive emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for the nationwide inoculation drive, which commenced on January 16. The former has been developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited, and is the first made-in-India anti-Covid shot. The latter is the Indian variant of Britain's Astrazeneca vaccine, and manufactured locally by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).
Both have also received approval from the World Health Organization (WHO).