West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention for an early approval for COVAXIN from World Health Organisation. The Trinamool Congress supremo has made the appeal for the students travelling abroad who have taken dose of COVAXIN but due to non clearence from the WHO their certificate is not counted valid due to which the students' careers are at stake.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mamata Banerjee wrote, "You (PM Modi) are kindly aware that Government of West Bengal has taken up COVID-19 vaccination in the right earnest and till date, we have already administered more than 2.0 crore doses to different sections population. Since the start of the vaccination programme, we have been receiving both COVISHIELD and COVAXIN."
She further said, "however, 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.
Large number of students from all over the country travel abroad every year for higher studies and many of these students have got themselves vaccinated with COVAXIN."
She reminded that their vaccination certificate is not valid abroad. "These students are now in a fix regarding their next course of action and their career is at stake," she said.
Requesting the PM she seeked for his intervention for an early approval for COVAXIN from WHO so that these students do not face any problem. "This will also benefit people travelling abroad for job, education, business and any other purposes as well," she added.
Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech and the World Health Organization held a 'pre-submission' meeting on Wednesday for international emergency use listing (EUL) of Covaxin, its COVID-19 vaccine. The meeting was to give the company a chance to receive guidance from WHO authorities before the final submission. No details have emerged about how the meeting went.
Last month Bharat Biotech said it had already submitted 90 per cent of the required paperwork. The Hyderabad-based manufacturer also said it was confident of getting the nod "given its experience of getting its other vaccines pre-qualified by WHO".
The vaccine is 77.8 per cent effective in protecting against COVID-19, according to data studied and recommended on Tuesday by the national drug regulator's Subject Expert Committee.
WHO's emergency use listing, or EUL, is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing new, or unlicensed, products that can be used during public health emergencies.