A top official of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that a decision on an emergency approval for a COVID-19 vaccine from Bharat Biotech is expected next month.
The vaccine, called Covaxin, is yet to be approved by any regulatory authority in the West.
Covaxin has been approved for emergency use by the people of India and has been supplied to a number of countries.
The UN health agency’s review of the vaccine is “very advanced,” according to Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for vaccines, and officials expect a decision by mid-September.
Although further information from advanced study is needed, Covaxin is 78% effective.
As health experts are still split on the issue, with two sets of statistics coming out of the country, a big question is whether India is already suffering from the third wave of Covid-19? While the number of new coronavirus infections is steadily decreasing, the R-value (reproduction value) in some states/UT has risen to over 1. Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh are two of the eight states with an R-value greater than one; what’s more alarming is that these are new states/UTs where viral infection is spreading rapidly.
According to data from the Union Health Ministry, Covid-19 cases have increased in 37 districts in the last week. With most Covid restrictions being lifted and more activities being permitted, including the reopening of schools and colleges, and the forthcoming Christmas season, India faces a difficult task: containing Covid distribution and preventing the third wave.
On the immunisation front, India’s total Covid-19 vaccination coverage increased to 52,32,53,450 on Wednesday, with over 40 lakh vaccine doses administered.
Meanwhile, vaccine specialists in the United Kingdom have warned that the Delta form will not provide herd immunity. The Delta variant’s rampage has resulted in a high caseload in the United Kingdom. The Delta variant has also caused problems in the United States and China.
In the meantime, the corona virus situation in Kerala is still a cause of concern. For the previous few weeks, the southern state has reported more than half of India’s total new cases. As the state struggles to manage the influx, the forthcoming holiday season adds to the difficulties.