What happened

Shares of Ocugen (OCGN -4.68%) were skyrocketing 22.1% higher as of 11:28 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. The big jump came as investors anxiously awaited a meeting today of the World Health Organization's technical advisory committee. This committee is discussing whether or not to grant Emergency Use Listing (EUL) to Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.

So what

If the World Health Organization grants EUL to Covaxin, it would pave the way for the vaccine to be distributed to countries that participate in the COVAX Facility. That would certainly be good news for Bharat Biotech. 

However, Ocugen is partnering with Bharat to commercialize Covaxin only in the U.S. and Canada. The vaccine hasn't received authorizations in either of these markets yet. And EUL for Covaxin won't do anything to help clear the way.

A COVID-19 vaccine vial and syringe with needle on top of a stock chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

So why are Ocugen's shares up so much? Mainly because it's a popular meme stock that many online investors follow closely. Any good news for Covaxin generates enthusiasm, even if that news doesn't directly benefit Ocugen. 

In addition, Ocugen stock is heavily shorted. Some short-sellers could be covering their positions with an EUL decision on the way -- again, even though the decision won't really help Ocugen. 

Now what

There's a much more important pending decision that really matters for Ocugen -- Health Canada's review of the company's rolling regulatory submission for Covaxin. If this decision is favorable, Ocugen investors would have a legitimate reason to celebrate. However, it's uncertain how long it will be before Health Canada completes its review of the company's regulatory filing.