STAT January 14, 2021
Patrick Ho

Just after New Year’s Day, regulators in India granted authorization for restricted use to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, adding another Covid-19 vaccine to the list of those that have been approved for use in various countries around the world.

New vaccines against Covid-19 are sorely needed worldwide, especially in low-income countries, which are being left behind as high-income countries adopt “vaccine nationalism” and snatch up doses at the expense of those with less means.

The Covaxin rollout, however, illustrates another worrisome trend. Regulators in India gave the vaccine the go-ahead before data from large-scale clinical trials are available, just as Russian and Chinese regulators did for their own homegrown vaccine candidates.

Data from large clinical trials, which generally include tens of...

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