It is absolutely safe, underlined the head of the India’s vaccine task force chief on the vexing question of extending the shelf life of Covid vaccine, Covaxin, being given to teenagers (15-18) under the national Covid immunisation programme.
”Oh, it is absolutely safe. See, initially when the vaccines were being produced, the overall shelf-life issues were available only for that period when the studies were being done,” said Dr NK Arora, who has been very closely involved with the rollout of vaccines from the very onset.
“Now, today, with the experience and the time, since when the vaccine was produced, the shelf life has been evaluated through various animal studies. And it clearly shows that the vaccine is effective and active potency is maintained up to 12 months,” he said.
”Whenever this extra shelf-life duration is given, it is done in a very vigorous manner by regulators and all the baseline investigations and testing has been done. So, I would assure all my viewers … that it is based on science that shelf life is now extended to 12 months,” he added.
The Centre also today termed media reports as “false and misleading” that claimed that expired vaccines were being given to teenagers.
“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 government said in a statement.
“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,” the government added.
Pharma firm Bharat Biotech was allowed to extend the shelf-life of Covaxin by India’s drugs regulator on December 20.
“This approval of shelf life extension is based on the availability of additional stability data, which was submitted to CDSCO. With the shelf life extension, hospitals can now utilise the stock to avoid vaccine wastage, the press release then said.