Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: India seeks WTO help in the war against pandemic

Suneeti Ahuja Kohli and James Jose
Filed on June 30, 2021 | Last updated on June 30, 2021 at 11.54 pm

Until everyone is vaccinated, even the developed world will not be safe.

Some countries are looking at profiting from the pandemic, while the world needs to be saved through collective efforts, Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Railways & Minister of Commerce & Industry, said at the Global India Forum on Wednesday.

“We have tried at the WTO to ask for a waiver on trips so that vaccines and essential medicines can be made available to all in the world. Sadly, European countries in particular and many other developed countries are not supporting that move. It pains me. This is at a time when the world is facing such a big challenge.”

Until all of us are vaccinated and everybody in the world gets the benefit of modern technology, even the developed world will not be safe. It’s very, very unfortunate that some countries still put profit over prudence, said Goyal.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, also used the forum to send a message to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to approve Covishield, India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is been administered to millions in India and elsewhere around the world as part of the Covax initiative.

The EMA approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in January, but the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India, locally referred as Covishield, will require a separate approval.

“Let’s take a manufacturer outside of India, for example, let’s say they are approved by the World Health Organisation, everyone in that country gets vaccinated taking that product. When those citizens need to travel, what good is their vaccine certificate if it is not acknowledged and the reciprocity is not there between countries. It is just basically like a visa,” said Poonawalla during the India Global Forum on Wednesday.

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