Hours after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday, 3 July, claimed of aiming to launch India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by 15 August, developed in partnership with Bharat Biotech, several social media users circulated an image purportedly showing the company’s vice-president undergoing the clinical trial of the same.
However, Bharat Biotech issued a clarification stating that the image shows a routine procedure of drawing a blood sample.
The text on the image reads: “Dr VK Srinivas, vice-president, Bharat Biotech, taking corona vaccine... clinical trial. Immediately after taking the first dose, he said that he is the first person in India to take vaccine developed by him and his team in Bharat Biotech.”
Several social media users have shared the image on Facebook and Twitter as well with the same claim.
The image is being circulated on WhatsApp as well.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Bharat Biotech, on its official Twitter handle, issued a clarification that the image in circulation shows a “routine procedural blood draw for testing all production staff.”
Further, we found that Dr Krishna Ella, chairman and MD, Bharat Biotech, on Thursday, told NDTV that the human trials of the coronavirus vaccine (Covaxin) will begin in 10 days.
“We got most of the clearances coming through, like ethical committees from various medical colleges are coming through, and probably in 10 days, we should be able to start the trail to the volunteers,” he told NDTV.
Regarding the process of injecting a vaccine, Dr Sumit Ray, a critical care specialist in Delhi NCR told The Quint that most injectable vaccines are injected “intramuscular or subcutaneously.”
“The black band in the viral image shows that a venous blood sample is being collected. No vaccine is given intravenous,” he added.
Meanwhile, commenting on the viral image, Dr Shaheed Jameel, a leading virologist told The Quint that it most likely shows blood being drawn from the person.
He further informed that vaccines are injected either in the muscles (intramuscular) or under the skin (called intradermal).
"“This has to do with the types of cells in these locations that capture the vaccine and process it for an immune response. Non-injectable routes are oral (by mouth) and intranasal (usually as a fine mist).”" - Shaheed Jameel, leading virologist
Further, fact-checking website Alt News found that, as per the document of BBV152 COVID-19 vaccine (Covaxin) registered with the Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI), the route of administration of the vaccine is an intramuscular injection.
SITES AND PROCESS OF GIVING INTRAMUSCULAR INJECTION
Drugs.com, a website recommended by US Food Drug and Administration (FDA), listed down the steps required for injecting a vaccine through intramuscular route and the body parts where it can be injected.
The body parts include thigh, hip, upper arm muscle and buttocks. It is noteworthy that, unlike as seen in the viral image, elbow is not listed as one of the sites for injecting through intramuscular route.
Also, while injecting the vaccine, the website mentions that one should hold the skin with free hand, “gently press on and pull the skin so that is is slightly tight.”
However, it does not mention about putting any band around the said body part where the vaccine would be injected, as shown in the viral image.
Evidently, several social media users circulated an image with the false claim that the vice-president of Bharat Biotech has undergone the first clinical trial of the coronavirus vaccine.
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