WHO warns against fake Covishield vaccines in India, Africa
- The counterfeit Covishield doses were seized by the authorities from India and Africa
- The doses were recovered between July and August
- Covishield was approved by WHO in February 2021
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it has identified fake vials of one of India's key COVID-19 vaccines Covishield. The counterfeit doses were seized by the authorities from India and Africa between July and August, a statement by the WHO read.
According to the statement, the Covishield maker Serum Institute of India has also confirmed that the doses were fake. The global health body also warned that these fake vaccines "pose a serious risk to global public health."
According to WHO, fake Covishield doses in India were identified after it was noted that they contained a 2ml portion while SII does not produce the vaccine in 2ml (four doses)
In Uganda, Covishield with Batch 4121Z040 and the expiry date (10.08.2021) was found, which SII confirmed to WHO was fake.
The WHO has ordered authorities to check the circulation of these vaccines.
The Government of India is yet to issue an official statement on the matter but media reports have said that the issue is being investigated by the concerned authorities.
"Though we have a robust mechanism to prevent such cases, at this point after this report, our priority is to ensure that no Indian has received any of the fake doses," a health official told the Mint.
Covishield is the Indian version of the AstraZeneca dose and is the most extensively used vaccine in the country. India has so far administered over 486 million Covishield doses. The vaccine is given in two doses, with a gap of 84 days between the two.
Prepared by Serum Insitute in collaboration with Oxford University, the vaccine has been supplied 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
Covishield, an adenovirus vector platform-based vaccine, was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization in February 2021. Before those, the European Medicine Agency and UK government has approved the vaccine against COVID-19.
While India's other key vaccine, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, is approved for emergency use in 16 countries but has failed to obtain a World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing.