12 Feb 2021: Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh wants COVAXIN supplies halted, Harsh Vardhan responds
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has responded to the COVAXIN-related concerns of Chhattisgarh minister TS Singh Deo, saying that both coronavirus vaccines were given emergency use authorization after due diligence and that he should focus on amplifying inoculation in his state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader's reply came after Deo had expressed doubts over the efficiency of COVAXIN.
Here's what happened.
Letter: Deo welcomed Covishield, raised questions about COVAXIN
In his letter, Deo, the Health Minister of the Congress-ruled state, said 5,88,000 doses of Covishield (the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine) were supplied.
While he was happy with this, he expressed disappointment over the fact that doses of COVAXIN, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, were also being sent.
That phase three trials of COVAXIN are still underway has fanned worries, he claimed.
Fact: 'Send COVAXIN to Chhattisgarh after phase three trial is over'
"Further, the vial of COVAXIN does not display, expiry date, I would therefore request you, to kindly reconsider the decision to supply COVAXIN to the State of Chhattisgarh, and only do so after the results of clinical trial, phase three is over, (sic)" the letter read.
Fact: Deo's tweets can be read here
Response: Subsequently, Harsh Vardhan wrote a letter addressing Deo's concerns
Deo's worries related to the homegrown vaccine were addressed by Dr. Harsh Vardhan in a two-page letter.
"I would like to inform you that as per New Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules, 2019 under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and in light of urgent need due to COVID-19 pandemic, CDSCO has granted permission to manufacture two COVID-19 vaccines based on the prescribed procedure, (sic)" he wrote.
Details: Your concern regarding unavailability of expiry date is unfounded: Minister
He asserted that the pandemic can only end once states administer doses of the vaccines to beneficiaries.
"Your concern regarding the 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 added.
He then advised Deo to turn his attention toward vaccination drive in his state.
Details: He also asked why Congress minister was stoking inhibitions
Sharing the letter on Twitter, Dr. Harsh Vardhan asked if it was befitting for a state's health minister to stoke inhibitions about the efficiency of vaccines.
"Ample supplies of vaccines have been delivered to Chhattisgarh against which coverage of only 9.55% frontline workers in the State is a matter of grave concern, (sic)" he tweeted.
Deo was told to not sensationalize "non-issues."
Fact: Dr. Harsh Vardhan posted a picture to support his statements