Australia has given recognition to the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Speaking to the media on 1 October, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said Covishield will be treated as part of the “recognised vaccines” in Australia.
Australia’s drug regulatory body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), also released a statement confirming that Covishield will be considered a ‘recognised vaccine‘ for incoming international travellers to be regarded as appropriately vaccinated.
The TGA media release said, “In this initial report the TGA assessed six vaccines that have been widely deployed in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in national vaccination programs in countries such as China and India from which Australia normally receives many international arrivals.”
“Following assessment to determine the protection offered by certain of these vaccines against infection and serious illness, TGA’s initial advice is that Coronavac (Sinovac) and Covishield (AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of India) vaccines be considered ‘recognised vaccines’ for incoming international travellers to be regarded as appropriately vaccinated.”, TGA confirmed.
TGA clarified, “The assessments have been based on individual review of published data and in certain cases of regulatory information provided to the TGA in confidence. Recognition” status does not constitute Australian regulatory approval, as regulatory approval would enable a company to provide that vaccine for administration within Australia.”
The Australian government said it will will finalise in the coming weeks the processes for people to be able to show their vaccination status if they have had a TGA recognised vaccine.This announcement is likely to help Australian nationals and permanent residents who have taken Covishield vaccine and are expecting to travel to Australia which currently has travel barriers in place. The government of Australia is committed to ensure that Australians who were “fully vaccinated” abroad can return home without unnecessary obstacles, the statement said.
TGA, however, did not extend the approval to Covaxin, the other vaccine being administered in India.
“At this point in time, TGA has received insufficient data to reach a conclusion as to the protection offered by BIBP-CorV (Sinopharm), Covaxin (Bharat Biotech), Sputnik V (Gamaleya Institute), and Convidecia (CanSino). These vaccines could be recognised in the coming weeks or months as more data becomes available.”, the TGA statement read.
Requirement for the mandatory vaccination certificate from Indian travellers will also require connectivity between databases of Australia and India which is still a work in progress and needs some negotiation as is evident from the ongoing stalemate between India and the UK over vaccination certificates.