KATHMANDU, Feb 17: The Covishield vaccine currently being used in Nepal has been approved by the World Health organization (WHO).
The organization on Monday allowed emergency use to Covishield, a vaccine being produced by the Serum Institute of India. This is one of two vaccines developed in collaboration with Oxford University and a pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca. Covishield is currently being used in Nepal.
The WHO has also approved a vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca and a South Korean company. Earlier on December 31, the WHO approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine. Prior to this, the organization approved emergency use of Pfizer vaccine on December 31.
The 1 million dose Covishield vaccine provided by the Government of India to Nepal is produced by the Serum Institute of India. It was jointly developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca. The vaccine has been given to front-line health workers, cleaners and hospital staff in Nepal in the first phase from January 17, and then to journalists, staffers of UN agencies and diplomatic missions after the Department of Drug Administration gave permission for its emergency use in Nepal.
The government has started vaccinating civil servants, elected representatives of local governments, employees of banks, health volunteers, ambulance drivers, hearses drivers and staff engaged in corpse management. It is preparing to inoculate senior citizens above the age of 55 from the second week of March at the community level.
With the approval of the organization, the way to use Covishield vaccine worldwide under the COVAX facility has opened. The organization lists the vaccine in the Emergency Use List only after evaluating the quality, safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
The vaccines need to be included in the list before being supplied under the COVAX facility. The test results of the second and third phases of the vaccine were reviewed by an independent group and a team of WHO experts before being included in the organization's emergency use list. With the approval of the organization, it will be easier for general use.
According to WHO, Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccines have been approved in terms of quality, safety and efficacy data, risk management plan and necessary temperature management suitability. The organization took four weeks to review this vaccine.