Sinovac and Covishield are both recognized in Australia. It’s a ray of hope for international students to return to Australia. The TGA, a leading national drug regulator, has approved both Sinovac and Covishield vaccines in Australia. However, these vaccines will not be administered in Australia.
Many countries around the world have been vaccinated with Sinovac and Covishield. Sinopharm from China has been approved by the WHO. However, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) hasn’t recognized it yet.
The Sinovac and Covishield will be considered as “recognized vaccinations” for international travelers arriving in Australia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved Sinopharm and Covaxin to use in emergency situations in China. Though, these vaccines will not be considered to use in Australia.
International Borders Re-opening
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will lift its ban on international travel for states with 80% vaccination levels from next month. In this new system, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to quarantine at home for 7 days after returning to Australia.
They’re advised to quarantine at home rather than living in hotels for 14 days. However, this policy doesn’t apply to international students. The university sector of Australia has been badly affected due to the drop in international students. In 2020, the university sector suffered a severe financial blow, with revenues dropping by 2.2 billion dollars.
Belle Lim, the Council of International Students Australia, has said that she was afraid that vaccines requirements would exclude students from China and Nepal. She was concerned about it when New South Wales (NSW) announced a pilot program. However, she’s hopeful that Sinovac and Covishield’s recent recognition by TGA would change things.
Belle Lim stated that;
“We think that this is great news for students [who] have been stuck overseas for 18 months. These students have the right to receive the education that they paid for.”
Sinopharm and Covishield Not Recognised Yet
In its initial report, the TGA analyzed six vaccines that have been widely used in the Asia-Pacific region. TGA examines vaccines that also have been used in national vaccination programs in countries such as China and India. As a large number of international tourists arrive in Australia from India and China.
According to the TGA, it lacks sufficient evidence to recognize four vaccines at the moment. These vaccines include Chinese Sinopharm and CanSino jabs, India’s Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, and the Russian Sputnik V vaccination.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said that;
“These vaccines could be recognised in the coming weeks or months as more data becomes available.”
“[T]he TGA criteria for recognising a vaccine not currently registered in Australia is that it must meet the minimal efficacy and effectiveness levels as those vaccines approved (registered) for use in Australia.”
Many millions of people in China and around the world have been inoculated with Sinopharm. According to the TGA’s advice, there was not enough information on Sinopharm’s performance against severe infections or the rate of hospitalizations. It reported that Sinopharm’s average efficacy was 65 percent based on the information it conducted. However, a previous report indicated 79% efficacy.
Epidemiologists Welcome Move
Chinese and Indian officials have pledged millions of doses to be sent all over the world. The strategy has been called vaccine diplomacy or soft power push. A British Epidemiologists and journalist, Catherine Bennett said that;
“China and India were countries that really did help distribute vaccines around the world quite quickly in some of those resource-poor countries.”
“So this will actually impact a lot of countries that have those as their preferred, or dominant, vaccines. It does open up a lot more of the world to future travel with Australia.”
Catherine Bennett pointed out that Australia needs to recognize reputable vaccines that could reunite families. It’s essential to acknowledge vaccines according to their safety and risks instead of simply allowing people with the same deals as Australia.
She added that the TGA could evaluate real-world data and update its recommendations on recognized vaccines. According to Catherine Bennett;
“Sinovac, while not quite as effective against symptomatic illness, it’s still very effective against serious illness.”
Sanjaya Senanayake, an Infectious Diseases Physician at Canberra Hospital, noted that AstraZeneca in India manufactured Covishield. While Sinovac would be the first inactivated vaccine approved by Australia for COVID-19. Inactivated vaccines are developed by killing the virus. These dead viruses are used to make the vaccine so the body can develop immunity.
According to Sanjaya Senanayake, vaccine effectiveness wasn’t just based on how the vaccines prevented people from getting COVID-19. It also includes how well they prevented us from getting sick, requiring hospitalization and burdening the hospital system.
Sanjaya said that over 100 vaccines are currently undergoing clinical trials around the world. He stated;
“I don’t think we need to be in a rush to recognise vaccines if we haven’t got the data.”
“It’s very reasonable to wait and see and make sure that we have got good enough data when proceeding with this.”
Sinovac and Covishield Recognition:
The Sinovac and Covishield have been recognized in Australia. International students are hopeful of returning to Australia and continue their studies. As the international borders of Australia will be reopening from November 2021.
The Australian residents and citizens who’re completely vaccinated can return to Australia. However, they’ll be required to quarantine for 7 days at home. International students vaccinated with Sinovac or Covishield will be able to enter Australia. In addition, Sinopharm and Covaxin have both been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). Though, these aren’t considered to be used in Australia.
If you want more information regarding Australian borders opening or recognized vaccines, you can consult with our registered migration consultancy firm!
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I’m Nasir Nawaz. I’m a registered migration consultant in Australia. I am based in Sydney. I’ve studied Master of Laws at the University of New South Wales. I’m providing immigration services for several years.
Consult with me for legal advice on Australian visas to permanently live, study, and work in Australia.