Covaxin was approved by Indian government officials in January and administered to millions of people even without data being released. Many in the country, including frontline health care workers, had feared that Covaxin could be ineffective or worse, slowing down the national campaign to inoculate 1.3 billion people.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday granted emergency authorization to Covaxin, the first coronavirus vaccine developed in India and to get the designation, providing a major boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has stressed his intention of making the country’s pandemic prevention effort self-reliant, the New York Times reports.
The vaccine was developed by Bharat Biotech, an Indian drug company, and the Indian Council of Medical Research, a government body, and is the eighth coronavirus vaccine to receive the global health body’s green light.
The W.H.O. said in a tweet that Covaxin met standards for protection against Covid-19 and that the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs the risks.
Mr. Modi’s government was already exporting the vaccine to gain favors in a geopolitical struggle with China, which has used its large infrastructure projects to bolster its image.
The W.H.O. said Covaxin had a 78 percent efficacy rate against Covid-19 and should be administered in two doses four weeks apart to adults, noting the vaccine’s easier storage requirements might be convenient for poor and developing countries.
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