1,000 Doses of Covishield Vaccine Found ‘Frozen’, Damaged in Assam

According to reports, about 100 vials of the Serum Institute-built Oxford vaccine were stored in sub-zero temperatures whereas it is supposed to be kept at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius.

Published: January 20, 2021 2:26 PM IST

By India.com News Desk | Edited by Sharmita Kar

Serum Institute's Covishield vaccine (Photo: PTI)
Oxford-Serum's Covishield vaccine (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Nearly 1,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine were on Tuesday found frozen and damaged at the Silchar Medical College & Hospital (SMCH) in Assam’s Cachar district. According to reports, about 100 vials of the Serum Institute-built Oxford vaccine were stored in sub-zero temperatures whereas it is supposed to be kept at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius.

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Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli and state National Health Mission Director Lakshmanan S. have separately ordered probes to identify the reason behind the error that caused the lapse. The development was noticed on Saturday, the first day of the nationwide vaccination drive.

“There might be some technical fault with the Ice-Lined Refrigerator (ILR). We generally regulate the temperature of ILR between 2-8 degrees Celsius. When the temperature goes down, the ILR machine sends a message. But our vaccinator didn’t get any message and most probably it was a technical fault. The vaccines were stored the whole night and somehow the temperatures had dropped,” the health official said.

However, the health officials in the state have not labelled the frozen vials as a “waste” as they would get them tested in a laboratory to test the efficacy of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, Assam’s health department has decided to send another batch of 100 vials of Covishield to SMCH as a replacement of the previous batch.

Assam got both Covishield and Covaxin. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech is the manufacturer of India’s first indigenous vaccine ‘Covaxin’, while ‘Covishield’ was developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

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Published Date: January 20, 2021 2:26 PM IST