US Travel News: US eases travel hurdles for Covaxin trial participants | India News

Versie Dortch
HYDERABAD: At a time when the World Health Organisation (WHO) is dithering on granting Emergency Use Listing (EUL) to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given clearance to Covaxin vaccinated individuals to travel to the US, albeit with a rider.
The CDC has put Covaxin on the list of qualifying Covid-19 vaccine candidates that meet its criteria for an exception under the category of `Participants in certain Covid-19 vaccine trials’ on Tuesday, as per the CDC website.
However, it is not clear if this applies only to those who participated in the Covaxin Phase-3 trials or even those who received the vaccine after Covaxin was granted restricted EUA under clinical trial mode by the Indian drug regulator in January this year even as its Phase-3 trials were underway. Covaxin was removed from the clinical trial mode and granted regular EUA in March this year after the government lifted the clinical trial mode condition.
The other vaccines (not approved by WHO or US government) that have made it to this exception list include Chinese player CanSinoBIO’s Ad5-nCoV and Clover Biopharmaceuticals’ SCB-2019, Novavax and Serum Institute of India’s NVX-CoV2373 or Covovax.
The CDC decision came on a day when WHO once again put off its decision on granting EUL to Covaxin till November 3, after its technical advisory group (TAG) met in Geneva on Tuesday.
The CDC decision comes as good news for those who have taken both the doses of India’s first indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine as part of clinical trials and have been anxiously awaiting the WHO EUL nod to be able to travel to the US without having to undergo quarantine.
“Airlines and airline operators must confirm that any `covered individual’ claiming this exception has official documentation (e.g. clinical trial letter, participant card, or modified vaccination card) of clinical trial participation,” the CDC website states.
The first criteria laid down for availing this exception is that “the passenger has participated or is participating in a Phase-3 Covid-19 vaccine trial with a qualifying vaccine candidate list…that meets CDC criteria for the exception.”
The second criteria is that the “passenger received the full series of an active (non-placebo) Covid-19 qualifying vaccine candidate or an EUL vaccine and lists the name of the vaccine product and the date received.”
As per the CDC, airlines and airline operators need to review the information presented by the passenger to ensure that the passenger has had the vaccination series completed at least 14 days before the flight’s departure.

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