Expired Covaxin doses at pvt hosps create confusion among people

KOLKATA: Confusions triggered after some people were allegedly offered expired Covaxin doses by some private hospitals in the city. The hospitals claimed that the Union Health Ministry had extended the expiry dates by 6 months and a clearance had also been given.

People, who had booked a slot of Covaxin, refused to take the dose as it had expired on October 31. These people alleged that they did not have any prior knowledge regarding this.

As the people refused to get vaccinated with the expired doses, they were later offered a Covishield dose. Specific complaints had been lodged with the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC).

A couple from the city recently visited a private hospital in Mukundapur after they booked a slot for Covaxin dose through the CoWIN app. When they went to the hospital, they were told that they would have to take the Covaxin dose which had expired on October 31 but the date was later extended by the Centre. The couple refused to take the jab. They later searched for Covaxin dose in another hospital in the city, where they were told the same story.

Private hospitals, however, claimed that the Covaxin doses which had already expired on October 31 had been extended by six months by the Union Health Ministry and they were doing nothing unusual. All the private vaccination centres had already been communicated and instructed to administer these vaccines. A circular had been sent in this regard.

A senior state government official said as it was stated by the Centre, the efficacy of the Covaxin doses remained intact even after six months, the stipulated time of expiry and hence the time period had been extended up to one year.

"The Centre should have made people aware through campaigns about the extension of the expiry date of Covaxin. Nobody is interested in taking a jab, which has already expired. Normal people do not understand the technical issues. The Centre should have played a more proactive role and made people aware," said Dr G Mukherjee, a senior pathologist in the city.

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