All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Riju Dutta on Wednesday raised the question of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's entry to the United States since he has taken COVID-19 vaccine- Covaxin which is not recognised for international travel. In his tweet, the TMC leader also demanded clarification from Minister of External Affairs (MEA) S Jaishankar. PM Modi on Wednesday left for a four-day visit to the US to participate in high-level meetings.
'Are rules applicable only to tax-paying citizens?' fumed the TMC leader.
How did PM @narendramodi get permission to land in US, when #COVAXIN is not recognised by them??— 𝐑𝐢𝐣𝐮 𝐃𝐮𝐭𝐭𝐚 (@DrRijuDutta_TMC) September 22, 2021
So will he be treated as unvaccinated??
Or is it that rules/quarantine/visa denials are only applicable for the tax paying citizens of India & not him??@DrSJaishankar clarify !! pic.twitter.com/J64iKl8YCu
Before Riju Dutta, TMC leader Mahua Moitra had tweeted lashing out at the Centre over the lack of global recognition for Covaxin. The statement from Moitra came after UK refused to ease quarantine norms for Indian travellers vaccinated with two doses of WHO-approved Covishield, the local version of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine. Though Bharat Biotech had submitted the data required for the WHO's approval for Covaxin on July 9, the UN health agency will take up the proposal for consideration on October 5. Dubbing it as a "huge failure" of India's soft power, Moitra urged PM Modi on Wednesday to initiate a dialogue with his counterparts from other countries to sort out issues regarding Covaxin.
Currently, Covaxin is only recognised in India, Estonia, Iran, the Philippines, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Guyana, Paraguay and Zimbabwe. The emergency use approval can be a gamechanger amid the COVID-19 crisis as it is likely to encourage countries to import the vaccine, facilitate its manufacturing abroad and ease global travel for those vaccinated with it. Bharat Biotech's India-made Covaxin's application for emergency use authorisation in the US was rejected by the US' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently.
After the rejection, Bharat Biotech's US partner Ocugen Inc had added that it would instead push for a full US approval of the indigenous vaccine candidate Covaxin, without pursuing an emergency use authorisation. Covaxin is a Whole Virion Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). While the phase 3 trials entailed 25,800 participants between 18-98 years of age including 10% over the age of 60, the analysis was conducted 14 days after administering the second dose of the vaccine. It has shown overall 77.8% efficacy and 93.4% efficacy against severe COVID-19 disease as per the final results.