Chhattisgarh minister wants halt in supply of COVAXIN, Harsh Vardhan replies

As Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo expressed concerns about Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said both Covaxin and Covishield are safe and immunogenic.

Vardhan slammed the Congress leader saying it is not befitting of a state minister to cast doubts and serve vested interests.

“Is it really befitting of a state’s Health Minister Sh @TS_SinghDeo Ji to stoke inhibitions regarding efficacy of #COVID19Vaccine? In such unprecedented times, you should help address any vaccine hesitancy & do what’s in best interest of people, not further vested interests !” Harsh Vardhan tweeted.

“Both #COVAXIN & #COVISHIELD have been granted EUA in India after completing due diligence & following protocols establishing their safety & immunogenicity. As for your baseless claim of expiry date not being mentioned on COVAXIN vials, the info is available on label of each vial,” Vardhan added.

Earlier, Chhattisgarh minister TS Singh Deo on Twitter said that he had written to Harsh Vardhan urging him to halt the supply of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin to Chhattisgarh till the Phase 3 clinical trial results are completed while also expressing concern about the absence of expiry date on the vials

“Wrote to hon’ble union minister of health @drharshvardhan ji addressing the concern of Chhattisgarh govt regarding the supply of COVAXIN to the state. The primary concerns of the state are : The inhibitions regarding the incomplete 3rd phase trials of COVAXIN The absence of expiration date on the vials of the vaccine,” Deo tweeted.

“I have requested him to halt the supply of COVAXIN to Chhattisgarh until these issues are addressed to the satisfaction of our Health Department to avoid the wastage of the early expiration doses of the drug,” Deo added.

In a reply to his letter, Harsh Vardhan said he has got the matter examined in the ministry and as per New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019, under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and in light of urgent need due to Covid-19 pandemic in the country, the Central Drugs Standard and Control Organisation (CDSCO) has granted permission to manufacture the two vaccines based on the prescribed procedure and after due evaluation of pre-clinical and clinical trial data.

“Only those Covid-19 vaccines that have been granted permission for restricted use in emergency situations by the DCGI i.e. Covishield and Covaxin are being used for Covid-19 vaccination drive in the country,” Vardhan said.

“Both these vaccines being supplied to the states /UTs are safe and immunogenic and should be used expeditiously to rapidly confer protection to prioratised beneficiaries thereby mitigating the impact of the pandemic at the earliest,” he said.

“Your concern regarding unavailability of expiry date on Covaxin vial is also completely unfounded and without basis as the same is mentioned on the label of vaccine vials,” Vardhan added.