Students in a fix: Mamata seeks PM’s intervention for WHO’s approval of Covaxin
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling for his intervention in order to facilitate early approval for India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin from the World Health Organisation (WHO) so that students aspiring to go abroad for studies do not face any problem.
In a letter that Banerjee addressed to the PM and posted on Twitter, she wrote, “It is learnt that Covaxin is still not approved by WHO and it is not possible to travel abroad, as many countries are allowing only those people who are fully vaccinated with WHO-approved vaccines.”
She pointed out that a large number of students from across the country travel overseas every year for higher studies, and several of them have got themselves inoculated with Covaxin shots. “They came to learn later on that their vaccination certificate is not valid abroad. These students are now at a fix regarding their next course of action and their career is at stake,” the chief minister further wrote.
She added out that an early approval for Covaxin will also benefit those who are travelling abroad for jobs, business and any other purpose.
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, which has developed Covaxin, reportedly submitted the third-phase trial results of the vaccine to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Tuesday. “We have received the data from phase-3 trials,” news agency ANI quoted a senior government official as saying.
A top representative of Bharat Biotech said that from July onwards more private hospitals across the country could offer Covaxin doses as the drugmaker will be supplying 25 per cent of the total production volume of its Covid-19 vaccine to the private sector next month. At the moment, the company supplies 10 per cent of the total production volume.
This comes amid a controversy over data from the phase-3 trials of Covaxin that Bharat Biotech earlier said it would make public in June, only to announce later that the data would, in fact, be made public in July, marking a delay of nearly a month from the originally announced timeline.
Last week Bharat Biotech quashed rumours about its submission of Covaxin’s third phase trial data to the WHO for its approval, calling such reports “incorrect and lacking any evidence.”