The United Kingdom has recognized Serum Institute of India-manufactured Covid-19 vaccine Covishield in its new travel rules but has not removed quarantine restrictions concerning Indians. In an exclusive interview with ANI, Dr. NK Arora, Chairperson NTAGI Working Group for Covid Vaccination, took exception to delay by the UK in adding Covishield to the list of approved vaccines for travel to the country and said there should not be “vaccine discrimination”.
“Covishield vaccine is manufactured in India under license from AstraZeneca. In fact, the bridging trial was done to see the parity between the vaccine manufactured in the UK and that manufactured in India. The immunogenicity results showed exactly the similar results, antibody responses and other things,” he said.
“It is only after that India gave emergency use authorization to Covishield for use in India. The country has exported about 5 million doses back to UK, which has been administered to Britishers,” he added.
Dr. Arora said India exported about 30 million doses of Covishield to a large number of countries.
He said the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India has received emergency use authorization from WHO.
“In this context, if a country does not recognize a vaccine which has been used by its people, which was innovated by it and which has been approved by international regulators, I think it does not speak well. We would request British regulators and policymakersthat such kind of vaccine discrimination should not be done in a world globalised world where pandemic has affected every community, every country. Covishield given in India is fully certified,” he said.
On certification, he said India’s process is robust.
“I don’t think they are talking about anything, pointing fingers at the certificate. I think they are talking beyond that, the whole process they are talking about. Because we in India, know that it is one of the best way of giving certification,” he said.
CoWIN is the technological backbone driving vaccination in India and encompasses all constituents of the vaccination process. From validation of the supply of authentic vaccines, registration and certification of citizens, the entire value chain is administered through the CoWIN platform.