WHO’s medical alert on fake Covishield Vaccines

World Health Organisation (WHO) issued medical alerts on fake Covishield Vaccines in India.

Key Points

  • WHO has raised doubts on the genuineness of Covishield which is reaching patients in India.
  • India is reporting circulation of fake vials of the covid-19 vaccine that has been developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca while manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII).
  • WHO noted that, despite government’s efforts to provide genuine coronavirus vaccines using a transparent procurement & supply systems and CoWin platform, global surveillance & monitoring system for substandard & fake medical products identified fake Covishield vaccines are reaching in India and Uganda.
  • WHO has urged government to increase vigilance on hospitals, clinics, health centres, distributors, wholesalers, pharmacies, and other suppliers of medical products. It also asked to increased vigilance in the supply chains which are likely to be affected by fake vaccines.

How products were confirmed fake?

Products were identified as fake on the basis that, they fraudulently misrepresent their identity, composition and source. For instance, in India, Covishield 2ml was identified even though SII does not produce vaccine in 2ml (four doses). In Uganda, Covishield with Batch 4121Z040 and expiry date of 10.08.2021 was reported that SII confirmed to be fake.

Concerns of fake vaccines

Falsified covid-19 vaccines have a serious risk to global public health. It put an additional burden on vulnerable populations as well as health systems.

Issue with the CoWin platform

CoWin platform has not been equipped to handle the logistics of vaccine distribution. It only notes the batch number at the time of vaccination in order to ensure that, beneficiary knows which vaccine has been administered to him.

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