Media reports claiming that Expired Vaccines are being Administered in India are False and Misleading: Ministry of Health

Ministry of Health:

There have been some media reports alleging that expired vaccines are being administered in India under its national COVID-19 vaccination programme.

This is false and misleading and based on incomplete information.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) on 25th October 2021, in response to M/s Bharat Biotech International Limited’s letter no: BBIL/RA/21/567 has approved the extension of shelf life of Covaxin (Whole Virion, Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccine) from 9 months to 12 months.

Similarly, the shelf life of Covishield has been extended by the National Regulator from 6 months to 9 months on 22nd February 2021.

The shelf life of vaccines is extended by the National Regulator based on comprehensive analysis and examination of stability study data furnished by the vaccine manufacturers.

DK Shivakumar avare, did you check with your Party President before making your grandiose claim? Last I checked, your leader thinks that Centre should procure all vaccines: Dr Ashwathnarayan – Dy CM

Dr Ashwathnarayan – Dy CM, Karnataka:

At the outset, DK Shivakumar avare, did you check with your Party President before making your grandiose claim?

Last I checked, your leader thinks that Centre should procure all vaccines.

Do you disagree & think her opinion is ill-founded? Or has INC changed its position again?

At a time when our nation is facing an unprecedented crisis & is united in its fight against COVID, it is saddening to see you & INC indulge in creating false panic & offering contradicting stands for political benefits instead of directing energies against a common enemy.

Under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, over 17 cr Indians have received vaccine. No country in the world has vaccinated its citizens at the scale and pace as in India. As of 11 May, Karnataka under the leadership of CM Shri BS Yediyurappa has vaccinated over 1 Cr people.

Govt of Karnataka is committed to ensure the safety and security of every Kannadiga. We have formulated a scientific and evidence-based policy to combat the COVID19 pandemic.

Karnataka is the first state in the country to offer doorstep delivery of Oxygen Concentrators to help maintain oxygen saturation levels of home isolation patients. At a time when country was facing shortage of ICUs, our Govt created modular ICUs.

It is saddening, although not unexpected, to see you & INC leaders indulging in political theatrics when our state is facing such challenging times. DK Shivakumar avare, politics can wait, saving the lives of Kannadigas is of paramount importance.

The poor vaccination record of Congress Govt’s across various states is testimony enough to show the hollowness of your claim. DK Shivakumar avare, why have you not helped Congress Govts with your insights? Or is your claim borne out of a desire to seek cheap publicity?

At a time when the state of Karnataka and its people are mounting a brave fight against COVID19, I wish that my esteemed INC colleague DK Shivakumar will for once indulge in constructive politics based on public interest. Karnataka is watching you!

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We have asked BMC to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccines: Aaditya Thackeray

Aaditya Thackeray – Minister, Maharashtra Govt. :

  • Looking at the need for adequate vaccines to ensure that vaccination is swift & efficient, after discussing the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray ji, as guardian minister of Mumbai, we have asked BMC to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccines.

  • We are also working on a method to ensure that the non tech savvy citizens and those who can’t operate the CoWin app with ease, and for their access to vaccines in time.

  • Our efforts to increase vaccination centres are constantly on going and the BMC shall be having a centre in every municipal ward, along with a drive in vaccination centre across all zones of Mumbai, on my humble request to Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar ji and MC Chahal ji

  • Today the BMC has also issued guidelines for vaccination policy of housing societies partnering with hospitals for vaccination within society complexes.

  • I request all other cities in Maharashtra to also have the drive in vaccination for citizens above the age of 65 for their ease and comfort.

Media reports alleging that Centre has not placed any fresh order for COVID19 Vaccines are Incorrect and not Based on Facts: Ministry of Health

Ministry of Health:

There have been some media reports alleging that the Centre has not placed any fresh order for COVID19 vaccines.

The news reports suggest that the last order placed with the two vaccine makers (100 million doses with SII and 20 million doses with Bharat Biotech) was in March 2021.

These media reports are completely incorrect, and are not based on facts.

It is clarified that 100% advance of Rs. 1732.50 cr (after TDS Rs. 1699.50 cr) was released to Serum Institute of India (SII) on 28.04.2021 for 11 crore doses of Covishield vaccine during May, June and July, and was received by them on 28.04.2021.

As on date, against the last order of 10 crore doses for supplies of Covishield vaccine, 8.744 crore doses have been delivered till 03.05.2021.

Additionally, 100% advance of Rs. 787.50 cr (after TDS Rs. 772.50 cr) was released on 28.04.2021 to Bharat Biotech India Ltd (BBIL) for 05 crore Covaxin doses during May, June and July, and was received by them on 28.04.2021.

As on date against the last order of 02 crore doses for supplies of Covaxin vaccine, 0.8813 crore doses have been delivered till 03.05.2021.

Hence to say that fresh orders have not been placed by Government of India is not correct.

As of 2nd May 2021, Govt. of India has provided more 16.54 crore vaccine doses to States/UTs Free of Cost.

More than 78 lakh doses are still available with the States/UTs to be administered.

More than 56 Lakh doses in addition will be received by the States/UTs in the next 3 days.

Under the Liberalised Pricing & Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, Govt of India would continue to procure its share of 50% of the monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) cleared vaccines & would continue to make it available to the State Govts totally free of cost as was being done earlier.

P Chidambaram - India News

I urge the government to start preparing NOW in order to meet the much greater demand for vaccines on and after May 1: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

  • We welcomed the decision to vaccinate all above the age of 18 years. However, we have to caution the government that this decision brings with it huge responsibilities.

  • The first and foremost requirement is the availability of vaccines. There are widespread complaints about the lack of supply of vaccines.

  • The government’s claim that there is no shortage of vaccines is hollow and untrue.

  • When the surge in demand happens on May 1 and more people flock to hospitals for vaccination, will there be adequate stocks of vaccines all over the country?

  • If people are turned away at hospitals, there will be great resentment and protests.

  • The time to plan for May 1 started many weeks ago. Is the government prepared for May 1? I am sceptical.

  • Nevertheless, I urge the government to start preparing NOW in order to meet the much greater demand for vaccines on and after May 1

Nod given by the Drug Controller General of India for the conduct of the human trial of indigenous Indian vaccines COVAXIN and ZyCov-D

  • With the announcement of COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech and ZyCov-D Vaccine by Zydus Cadila the proverbial silver line in the dark clouds of COVID19 appears at the horizon.
  • Now the nod given by the Drug Controller General of India CDSCO (The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) for the conduct of the human trial for the vaccines, marks the beginning of the end.
  • In the past years, India has emerged as one of the significant vaccine manufacturing hubs.
  • Indian manufacturers account for 60% of vaccine supplies made to UNICEF.
  • The vaccine for novel coronavirus may be developed anywhere in the world, but without Indian manufacturers involved the production of required quantity is not going to be feasible.
  • More than 140 candidate vaccines are under various stages of development.
  • One of the leading candidates is AZD1222 developed Jenner Institute of University of Oxford and licenced to AstraZeneca British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, England.
  • The MRNA-1273 vaccine developed by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Washington and taken up for production by the US-based Moderna pharmaceutical is just a step behind.
  • Both these firms have already inked an agreement with Indian manufacturers for production of the COVID vaccines.
  • Parallelly Indian institutions have also engaged in R&D for the development of vaccines in India. With the primary scientific inputs coming from institutions like Pune based ICMR institution National Institute of Virology and Hyderabad based CSIR institution Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, six Indian companies are working on a vaccine for COVID-19.
  • Along with the two Indian vaccines, COVAXIN and ZyCov-D, the world over, 11 out of 140 vaccine candidates have entered the human trials.
  • Antigen from the pathogen and antibodies produced by the human immune cells can be thought of as matching the compatible pair.
  • Every pathogen has specific molecular structures called as antigen. They are like the surface with a particular hue and design. Once infected by the germ, the human immune system develops antibodies that match the antigen.
  • Just as the retailer of design matching material stockpile hundreds of design pieces of riots of colours and hues, our immune system has ten thousand types of antibodies.
  • If the pathogen is a known enemy, the immune system can pull the matching design piece from the stock. Once the match is made the pathogen is inactivated. No longer it can infect.
  • However, if the microorganism is unfamiliar, and mainly when it has evolved for the first time, there is no matching colour and hue in the repertoire. 
  • Nonetheless, unlike the textile, the antibody can evolve. At first, near matches are tried. After various cycles of antibody development, the best fit matures.
  • The time lag between the identification of the main surface colour that is an antigen, and finding a pairing design piece, that is antibodies, is what makes the infection mild or severe. If only the immune system can neutralise the germ instantly, the infection can be prevented.
  • Like a new hue of design piece once acquired is stocked for future, once the new antibody matching the antigen evolves, it is retained in the immunological memory.
  • Next time the same pathogen invades, immunological memory gets activated, and twinned antibody is released. The infection is nipped in the bud. We acquire immunity.
  • A vaccine is a method to artificially inducing the immunological memory. Once the antigens of the nasty pathogen are introduced, the immune system is triggered into developing pairing antibodies and immunological memory.
  • There are many ways in which one can artificially stroke the immune system to develop antibodies and memory.
  • The bottom line is presenting the antigens of the novel coronavirus to the human immune system.
  • From adenovirus-based live-attenuated virus to recombinant genetic technology is used to develop several types of vaccines.
  • Two among the various possibilities produced in India are inactivated virus vaccine and DNA plasmid vaccine.
  • We can inactivate a whole virus with heat or formaldehyde (that is ‘killed’), yet keep the antigen molecular structures still intact.
  • However, the inactivated virus will not be able to infect or cause disease, as it is no longer functional.
  • The Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN uses the virus isolated from an Indian patient by the National Institute of Virology to develop the inactivated virus vaccine.
  • Novel coronavirus infects the human cells with the help of its spike proteins. The spike protein of the virus binds with the ACE2 receptors on the surface of the human respiratory tract cells.
  • Once the virus fuse, the viral genome is slipped into the human cell where around a thousand copies of the virus are made in just ten hours. These baby viruses emigrate to nearby cells.
  • Infection can be arrested if only we can deactivate the spike protein of the novel coronavirus.  Thus the antigen on the spike protein is a crucial vaccine target.
  • If the antibody blocks the spike protein, then the virus cannot bind the cell and multiply.
  • The genomic code of the spike protein is spliced into a harmless DNA plasmid. This modified plasmid DNA with the genetic code of viral spike protein is introduced into the host cells.
  • The cellular machinery translates the DNA and produces the viral protein encoded in the genome.
  • The human immune system recognises the alien protein and develops a matching antibody. After this vaccination, if at any time, we are infected by the novel coronavirus, then sensing the spike protein antibodies are released instantly.
  • The immune killer cells seize deactivated viruses. Contagion is arrested even before infection sets in.