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Fake Covishield vax found in India, Uganda: WHO

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD, AUG 19 (AGENCIES)

Publish Date: 8/19/2021 12:51:49 PM IST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said fake Covishield vaccines were in circulation in India and Uganda and asked governments of both countries to urgently notify the discovery of false batches to the world body.

The WHO asked people who may have used fake doses to report adverse events, if any, to the national drug regulators and pharmacovigilance bodies and other countries to enhance vigilance in their Covid vaccine supply chains.

Issuing a medical product alert on falsified Covishield vaccines identified in its African and South-East Asia Regions, the WHO today said, “The falsified products were reported in July and August 2021. The genuine manufacturer of Covishield (Serum Institute of India) has confirmed that the products listed in this alert are falsified. These falsified products have been reported at the patient level in Uganda and India.”

The WHO said only genuine Covishield vaccine was indicated for active immunisation of individuals 18 years or older for the prevention of Covid-19 disease. “Falsified Covid-19 vaccines pose a serious risk to global public health and place an additional burden on vulnerable populations and health systems,” it said, calling for urgent detection and removal of falsified product batches in India and Uganda to prevent harm to patients.

The world body also asked nations and regions likely to be affected by the falsified Covishield product mentioned in its alert to enhance vigilance within supply chains.

Probe on, says  Mandaviya:  Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday said the government has launched an inquiry into a report claiming that counterfeit versions of Covishield, India’s primary anti-COVID-19 vaccine, had been seized.

“It has been claimed that duplicate versions of Covishield vaccine were sold in the country. The Indian government is probing this claim, and will take action if it found any substance to the allegations,” he told reporters in Rajkot.

Covishield is the Indian-made version of AstraZeneca’s jab and is the most widely used vaccine in India with more than 486 million doses administered so far.

Serum had supplied millions of Covishield vaccines to countries in Asia, Africa and South America – as part of deals that were inked with various governments and the global Covax scheme for poorer countries.

India, which is the second worst-affected country in the world, aims to vaccinate all its people by the end of this year. About 13 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated since the beginning of the drive in January.

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