Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya called up WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to discuss the issue of the emergency use listing of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. They also discussed resumption of supplies of the Serum Institute of India-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine to the COVAX facility among other topics.
"Had a call with @mansukhmandviya, India's Health Minister, to discuss #India's ongoing #COVID19 vaccination programme; the need for a global pandemic agreement; digital health; & traditional medicine. We welcome India's support to strengthen WHO, incl. via flexible, sustainable financing,"Ghebreyesus tweeted.
They discussed several issues including "the resumption of SII/AstraZeneca vaccine supplies to #COVAX; the Covaxin Emergency Use Listing process; and technology and license sharing through C-TAP," the WHO Director-General added.
In May 2020, COVID-19 Technology Access Pool or C-TAP was launched for facilitating timely, equitable and affordable access of COVID-19 health products by boosting their supply.
Mandaviya tweeted that he had a detailed interaction with the WHO chief during which they discussed various issues pertaining to health, pandemic management and WHO reforms.
"DG WHO lauded the mammoth efforts undertaken by the Indian government for #COVID19 vaccination," Mandaviya tweeted.
WHO has informed that it is expecting one additional piece of information from Bharat Biotech regarding Covaxin. It further stressed that before recommending a vaccine for emergency use, it has to evaluate thoroughly to ensure vaccines are safe and "cannot cut corners".
"We are aware that many people are waiting for WHO's recommendation for Covaxin to be included in the #COVID19 Emergency Use Listing, but we cannot cut corners - before recommending a product for emergency use, we must evaluate it thoroughly to make sure it is safe and effective," WHO explained.
"Bharat Biotech - the manufacturer of Covaxin - has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and WHO experts have reviewed these data. WHO is expecting one additional piece of information from the company today," it said.
On Tuesday, the total number of vaccines administered in the country crossed 99 crores. While 74.45 per cent of India's eligible adult population has received at least a dose of vaccine, only 30.63 per cent has received both doses.