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Chhattisgarh asks govt to halt supply of Covaxin, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan responds

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Singh on Thursday responded to Chhattisgarh health minister T.S. Singh Deo, who wrote to the centre and asked to halt supply of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin citing efficacy of the vaccine. The primary concerns of the state are the inhibitions regarding the incomplete third phase trials of the Covaxin and the absence of expiration date on the vials, Deo had tweeted.

He had requested the Union Health Minister to stop the supply of Covaxin to Chhattisgarh until these issues are addressed to the satisfaction of their Health Department to avoid the wastage of the early expiration doses of the drug.

In his response to the Chhattisgarh health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan gave a detailed explanation. He said all vaccines supplied to states are safe and immunogenic and should be used expeditiously.

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On the issue of date of expiration raised by Chhattisgarh government, Harsh Vardhan, in the letter said the 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. He attached a photo of a vial with the label.

The Union minister also pointed out that while Chhattisgarh has achieved 69.87% coverage of its Health Care Workers by giving them the first dose of the vaccine, the state has been able to cover only 9.55% of its 2,09,512 Front Line Workers through the first dose of the vaccine.

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India’s drug regulator had approved Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin before completing its third phase of trials. It is being used in clinical trial mode, meaning its recipients are being monitored. In Delhi, it is being administered to healthcare workers in the six Centrally-run hospitals.

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