Quoted Out Of Context: MEA Denies Reports Of Asking Bharat Biotech To Address WHO’s Covaxin Suspension
The World Health Organization had said that it suspended supply of Covaxin through United Nations agencies in response to the need to conduct process and facility upgrade to address recently identified GMP (good manufacturing practice) deficiencies.
New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), on Friday, clarified that the purported reports, which said that the ministry had asked Bharat Biotech to address the issue immediately to avoid the cancellation of the World Health Organisation’s emergency use approval (EUA) for the COVId-19 jab, portrayed an ‘incorrect picture’. “It appears that this refers to an internal document circulated to members of the Empowered Group-5, which comprehensively looks at all issues related to vaccines,” sources told news agency ANI on Friday.
“Selective parts of the communication have been highlighted out of context to portray an incorrect picture,” the MEA sources said. The note, they said, only lists several issues in a factual manner for consideration of the Empowered Group and does not indicate MEA’s position or comment on any issue under consideration.
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Bharat Biotech must address WHO suspension: Reports said
Reports had cited an internal communication between the MEA and the empowered group on COVID-19 vaccination and said that Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said that “the issues pertain to m-RNA based booster dose requirement by countries which, in effect, negates our effort to obtain recognition of Covishield and Covaxin, suspension of supply of Covaxin by WHO, acceptance of Corbevax and Covaxin-based vaccination certificates for children and international travel by Indians vaccinated with Sputnik-V.”
“Bharat Biotech must address the matter immediately through DCGI and WHO and avoid any situation that may lead to cancellation of WHO’s EUL for Covaxin in future,” Shringla was quoted as saying in the report.
WHO suspends Covaxin
On April 2, the World Health Organization had said it has decided to suspend the supply of Covaxin through UN agencies to allow Bharat Biotech to address shortcomings in manufacturing practices that were found during an inspection.
However, the WHO had added that the vaccine was safe and effective, and that there was no “change in the risk-benefit ratio”. The global health body had recommended that countries that have received supplies of Covaxin should “take actions as appropriate”, but did not specify what these actions were to be.
On Thursday, certain reports claimed that the MEA had raised concerns regarding the suspension of EUA of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin through UN agencies.
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