Australia recognises Covaxin for travel status
Australia on Monday recognised Covaxin, one of India’s homegrown Covid-19 vaccines, for the purpose of vaccination status for travel that will allow fully-vaccinated Covaxin recipients to enter Australia.
The Australian Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) said it had determined that Covaxin made by India’s Bharat Biotech and BBIBP-CorV, a Covid-19 vaccine made by China’s SinoPharm would be “recognised” for a traveller’s vaccination status.
The TGA said it had in recent weeks obtained information demonstrating that these vaccines provide protection and potentially reduce the likelihood that an incoming traveller would transmit Covid-19 infection to others while in Australia or become acutely unwell because of Covid-19.
The supporting information about the two vaccines had been provided to the TGA by the vaccine sponsor or the World Health Organisation (WHO), the agency said.
The recognition is for travellers 12 years or older who have received Covaxin and those between 18 to 60 who have been vaccinated with BBIBP-CorV, the TGA said, adding that it had received supporting information about the vaccines from the jab companies or the WHO.
The recognition of Covaxin and BBIBP-CorV and the previous recognition to India’s Covishield and China’s Coronavac means many citizens from China and India and other countries where these vaccines have been widely deployed will now be considered fully vaccinated on entry to Australia, the TGA said.
“This will have significant impacts for the return of international students and travel of skilled and unskilled workers to Australia,” it added.
Covaxin had until Monday accounted for over 120 million (11 per cent) of the 1,062 million doses administered so far. Over 942 million (over 88 per cent) are Covishield doses.
While the WHO approved emergency use listing of Covishield — an AstraZeneca vaccine made in India — in February, the WHO is yet to decide on whether to grant a similar listing to Covaxin.
Covaxin recipients currently cannot travel to certain countries unless the vaccine gets approved by the WHO or by the regulatory authorities of those countries. The WHO is expected to announce its decision on Covaxin this week.