Individuals who have received covid-19 vaccines abroad will soon be able to get their vaccination certificates through the Co-WIN portal once they reach here, a government official leading the immunization programme said, even if those vaccines are not approved for use in India.
With international travel gradually opening up, many people entering India who have either received one jab or are completely vaccinated are currently unable to get a vaccination certificate in India.
“There have been several requests and enquiries from people in this regard. There are Indians or foreigners who have received one or two doses of vaccines such as Pfizer or Sinopharm in other countries and are planning to come and stay in India. The said vaccines along with many others are not approved in India. In a bid to smoothen the process for such people, we are working out a provision,” said Dr N.K. Arora, chairman, India’s covid-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
“Vaccination certificate holds importance everywhere in the world for varied purposes. But for the vaccination certificate in India, a person who is already vaccinated need not to take the jabs again here. We will ensure that such people can get vaccination certificates through Co-WIN platform. We will soon enable this feature in our nationwide covid-19 vaccination programme,” said Arora.
Meanwhile, India is also increasing the choice of covid-19 vaccines. Johnson & Johnson has received emergency use authorization (EUA) for its single-dose vaccine.
India mainly has three covid-19 vaccines available for administration currently—Covaxin, Covishield and Russia’s Sputnik V—while the Moderna vaccine (mRNA-1273) had also received emergency nod in India recently.
India is also exploring mixing and matching of covid-19 vaccines, which has shown evidence of better safety. NTAGI is also considering to allow mix and match Covishield and Sputnik vaccines, besides mixing of similar platform vaccines to be available in the country in due course.
According to officials in the Union health ministry, an expert panel of India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) last week recommended granting permission to Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore for conducting a clinical trial of mixing of two covid-19 vaccines—Covaxin and Covishield—both using different technology platforms.
“With mixing and matching of covid-19 vaccines, if a person has taken one jab in some other country, then s/he can safely take the second jab in India with the similar platform vaccine such as adenovirus platform (Covishield and Sputnik) and whole virion (Covaxin) or mRNA vaccines (Moderna when available). If such mixing is not possible or if the person has taken both shots, a vaccination certificate on the basis of proof from valid authorities from the respective country can be considered for a vaccination certificate issued in India for domestic requirements,” said Arora.
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