WHO issues alert over fake Covishield vaccine doses in India, Africa

WHO issues alert over fake Covishield vaccine doses in India, Africa - The World Health Organization on Tuesday issued a medical alert referring to fake Covishield COVID-19 vaccine doses.

WHO issues alert over fake Covishield vaccine doses in India, Africa
The World Health Organization on Tuesday issued a medical alert referring to fake Covishield COVID-19 vaccine doses

The World  Health Organization on Tuesday issued a medical alert referring to fake Covishield COVID-19 vaccine doses being reported in South-East Asia and Africa. This comes amid rising concerns about the genuineness of Covishield reaching patients in India as the nation has reported fake vials of the COVID-19 vaccine, which was being manufactured by Pune Serum Institute, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca.

The WHO said that the fake vaccine shots were reported to it in July and August, and added that Covishield manufacturer, SII had confirmed that some vials reported at the patient level were fake. 

This comes despite efforts by the central government to provide genuine COVID-19 vaccines through transparent procurement, supply systems, and CoWin platform. The WHO, through its surveillance and monitoring system, identified fake Covishield doses in India and Uganda.

The WHO said, “Falsified covid-19 vaccines pose a serious risk to global public health and place an additional burden on vulnerable populations and health systems. It is important to detect and remove these falsified products from circulation to prevent harm to patients."

It urged India, and affected nations, to increased vigilance in hospitals, clinics, health centers, wholesalers, distributors, pharmacies, and any other suppliers of medical products. It said that the products identified were identified as “falsified" on the basis that they deliberately or fraudulently misrepresent their identity, composition, or source.

“Genuine Covishield vaccine is indicated for active immunisation of individuals 18 years or older for the prevention of coronavirus disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The use of genuine covid-19 vaccines should be in accordance with official guidance from national regulatory authorities," the world health agency said.

Covishield 2ml was identified in India, the WHO said, adding SII does not produce the vaccine in 2ml (four doses). In Uganda, Covishield with Batch 4121Z040, expiry date (10.08.2021) was found, the WHO said, adding that SII confirmed it was fake.