Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday said that the government has launched an inquiry into a recent alert raised by the World Health Organization about detecting fake vials of the Covishield vaccine in India, PTI reported.
Speaking to reporters in Gujarat’s Rajkot city, Mandaviya assured action in the matter if the allegations are found true.
In a statement on August 16, the WHO said that its surveillance and monitoring system had identified fake Covishield vials at the patient-level in India and the African nation Uganda. The fake products were reported to it in July and August, WHO said.
“The genuine manufacturer of Covishield (Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd.) has confirmed that the products listed in this alert are falsified,” the statement mentioned.
The WHO said that it could identify that the vaccines were fake based on misrepresentation of their “identity, composition and source” mentioned on the vials.
The vials found in India contained doses of 2 millilitres, though Serum Institute of India does not manufacture Covishield in such vials. In the Uganda batch, the expiry date mentioned on the vials was August 10.
Meanwhile, Mandaviya also said that results of a research on vaccines for children conducted by pharmaceutical companies Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech were expected to arrive next month. The minister did not mention any specific timeline for launch of vaccines for children, but said they will be available “very soon”.
Multiple government health officials have said that vaccines for children in India are likely to be available in September.
In an interview on Friday, National Institute of Virology Director Priya Abraham also said that the timeline for Covaxin shots for children was “probably by September or just after September”, PTI reported.