The World Health Organisation (WHO), alerted of the falsified COVISHIELD Coronavirus vaccine (Recombinant) in circulation.
The falsified products were reported to WHO in July and August. The genuine manufacturer of COVISHIELD (Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd.) confirmed that the falsified products were first reported at the patient level in Uganda and India.
Covishield is the brand name under which Serum Institute of India sells the AstraZeneca-OxfordUniversity Covid-19 vaccine.
According to a statement by WHO, falsified COVID-19 vaccines pose a serious risk to global public health and place an additional burden on vulnerable populations and health systems. .
The products identified in the alert are confirmed as falsified on the basis that they deliberately/ fraudulently misrepresent their identity, composition or source, said WHO, giving details of these products. They include, ‘Batch 4121Z040 – the expiry date (10.08.2021) on this product is falsified; Covishield 2ml – the genuine manufacturer does not produce Covishield in 2ml (4 doses).”
‘A serious health risk’
“Falsified Covid-19 vaccines pose a serious risk to global public health and place an additional burden on vulnerable populations and health systems. It is important to detect and remove these falsified products from circulation to prevent harm to patients,” said the WHO.
Meawhile, the WHO, warned that Delta variant of COVID-19 is on the path to becoming the dominant strain worldwide as surge in the highly transmissible variant increases urgency for vaccinating large numbers of vulnerable people.
WHO further warned that while four variants of concern currently dominate the epidemiology, there are fears that new, and possibly more dangerous variants of concern, may emerge.
At least 800 people in Uganda were given fake coronavirus vaccines — some injected with water — in a scam that involved “unscrupulous” doctors and health workers, government officials said last month
The fraudsters targeted people looking to pay for immunisation, including corporate employees, at a time when vaccines were in short supply, said Dr Warren Naamara, the director of a health services monitoring unit under the presidency.
“Some unscrupulous individuals with intentions of making money, duped members of the public into a fake Covid-19 vaccine exercise,” Dr Naamara told AFP.