WHO scientist on Covaxin nod for kids, pregnant women

Covaxin approval for pregnant women, children to come 'much faster', says WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan

When asked if the vaccine was completely safe for pregnant women, she said that more data was needed to arrive at a conclusion

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan. Credit: AFP File Photo

The WHO nod for administering Covaxin on children and pregnant women is likely to come "much faster" than it did for the general adult population, the health body's chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan told NDTV in an interview.

Speaking shortly after the Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine was approved for Emergency Use Listing (EUL), Dr Swaminathan said that its approval for use on children and pregnant women would depend on the data submitted.

When asked if the vaccine was completely safe for pregnant women, she said that more data was needed to arrive at a conclusion. However, she noted that a lot of pregnant women in the country had opted for the Covaxin shot and the WHO was awaiting data on the same.

Also Read | WHO's Covaxin approval is Diwali gift to India, poor nations: OMAG

Dr Swaminathan also attempted to counter criticism over the time taken for Covaxin's EUL approval and said that the vaccine "by no means took the longest" to get WHO's go-ahead. She pointed out that Chinese-made vaccines did not take 10 days to get the EUL, as suggested by certain critics.

While EUL approval usually takes 50 to 60 days on average, China's Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines took 165 days, she told the organisation. "Covaxin is somewhere in the middle, it took somewhere between 90 and 100 days," she said.

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