Serum Institute's Covovax vaccine gets WHO emergency use nod, Poonawalla hails decision


NEW DELHI: Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Friday hailed WHO’s approval for emergency use of Covovax vaccine for children “as yet another milestone” in the fight against COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday listed the Covovax as the ninth COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use with an aim to increase the access to vaccination in lower-income countries.

It is produced by the Serum Institute of India under the licence from Novavax.

Reacting to the development, Poonawalla tweeted, “This is yet another milestone in our fight against COVID-19, Covovax is now WHO approved for emergency use, showing excellent safety and efficacy. Thank you all for a great collaboration…..”

He tagged Novavax, WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, its CEO Seth Berkley and the Gates Foundation.

Earlier this week, Poonawalla had said that SII planned to launch Covovax, a COVID-19 vaccine for children in the next six months.

He had stated that Covovax which is under trial would offer protection to children all the way down to three years as it had shown excellent data during the trials.

Currently, Covishield and other COVID -19 vaccines are approved for people above the age of 18.

Poonawalla had asserted that there was enough data to show that the vaccine would work and protect children against the infectious disease.

According to WHO, Covovax was assessed under its emergency use listing (EUL) procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety and efficacy, a risk management plan, programmatic suitability, and manufacturing site inspections carried out by the Drugs Controller General of India.

“The Technical Advisory Group for Emergency Use Listing (TAG-EUL), convened by WHO and made up of experts from around the world, has determined that the vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19, that the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs any risks, and that the vaccine can be used globally,” it said.