The Serum Institute of India (SII) sought and received approval from the World Health Organisation on the 17th of December, 2021 for the emergency use of Covovax. SII is one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world and WHO approved the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of the COVID-19 vaccine Covovax, which was developed under the licence of Novavax. This is the recent vaccine associated with India, that has been approved by the WHO, the other two being Covaxin and Covishield. This vaccine has been approved for immunisation of individuals who are 18 years and above.
Why the Covovax approval in India is a major milestone?
The fight against COVID-19 is ongoing and vaccinations for the entire population is the need of the hour. When vaccines against COVID-19 were first introduced to the world, many third world nations like India suffered from vaccine shortages. The manufacture of Covaxin (India’s first indigenous vaccine) and Covishield (the Indian version of Britain’s AstraZeneca) were major milestones for the efforts to vaccinate India.
The approval of Covovax in India by the WHO is an important milestone because more people can now get vaccinated (especially in lower-income nations). This indicates that there are now 9 (Covovax being the 9th one) COVID-19 vaccines that can help us stay protected from the virus. The approval of the vaccine is a positive indicator of the safety and protection of the people from SARS CoV-2.
Why it is important for you to know?
The approval of the Covovax vaccine by the WHO is a strong indicator of its efficacy and safety. It is important to know whether a vaccine is showing effectiveness or not. Covovax has been developed using the technology of the Novavax vaccine, which is effective in providing protection against the mutated strains of the COVID-19 virus. Since the Covovax vaccine has been deemed safe for use, it means that more people can now get vaccinated and stay protected against mutated strains as well. A projected third dose can increase the antibody count by up to 4-6 times and provide resistance against the delta variant. Studies about the protection against the omicron variant are still ongoing.
SII CEO Adar Poonawalla has announced plans for the launch of Covovax jabs for children too. He plans to launch a vaccine for children from the age of three. Although children have not faced any deadly effects of the virus, vaccinating them ensures a safety net for them.
What kind of vaccine is Covavax?
COVOVAX is the protein-based COVID-19 vaccine option, with demonstrated efficacy and a well-tolerated safety profile, to be made available through the COVAX Facility said CEO of Serum Institute of India, Mr Adar Poonawala. The Covovax vaccine uses spike proteins to help the immune system adapt to combat the virus and create antibodies.
- It is a two-dose vaccine with a gap of 21 days between the first and second dose.
- Each vial contains 10 doses for intramuscular injection.
- Each shot requires 0.5 mL of the vaccine.
Covovax requires storage between the temperatures of 2°C and 8°C, therefore existing cold chain supply lines for vaccine transport can be used for this vaccine as well.
Clinical studies show a 96.4% efficacy against mild or severe COVID-19 infection. The Covovax vaccine has a very strong safety profile and the booster shots are deemed to be more effective. Although more study is required to understand the vaccine’s efficacy against the Omicron variant. However, the INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics), does believe that there are high chances that Covovax will receive approval as the booster shot that we may all need.
Covovax for children?
Children need the COVID-19 vaccine as much as adults do because they are returning to schools and colleges and they are vulnerable without the protection offered by vaccines. So can Covovax be administered to children? According to Poonawalla, Covovax is safe and can offer the required protection to all children down to three years of age.
The approval of Covovax by the WHO is a boost for India’s vaccination drive. It is also a positive indicator that studies to understand and counter the COVID-19 virus are being effective. Serum Institute of India also plans to introduce a vaccine for children based on Covovax. You can stay assured that Covavax is an effective measure to protect yourself from mutated strains of the virus. It is important for everyone to get vaccinated, follow covid-appropriate behaviour and maintain a safe distance from others to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.