Revised expiry dates of Covaxin triggers controversy as 15-17-year-olds get jab, Centre clarifies

Several people took to social media on Monday to claim that their teenage kids were being administered Covaxin doses from vials which were showing expiry dates of previous weeks...

Published: 03rd January 2022 06:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd January 2022 08:32 PM   |  A+A-

Covid vaccination for 15-17 year olds

Students in the age group of 15-17 years at the School of Excellence in New Delhi after getting vaccinated. (EPS | Parveen Negi)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: A major controversy broke out over using vials of Covaxin, which had originally expired, but are being used with "revised" expiry dates for 15-17-year-olds whose Covid vaccination began on Monday, forcing the Centre to issue a clarification.

For now, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech is the only vaccine being used for the adolescent age group in India and till the time of writing this report, nearly 38 lakh vaccinations had been carried out among 15–17-year-olds within hours of inoculation starting for them.

Several people took to social media on Monday to claim that their teenage kids were being administered Covaxin doses from vials which were showing expiry dates of previous weeks but hospitals, in separate sheets, were showing them "revised" expiry dates.

To these accusations, the Union health ministry said this was "false and misleading and based on incomplete information".

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, had on October 25 last year, in response to an application by Bharat Biotech, approved the extension of shelf life of Covaxin from nine months to 12 months, said the government.

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Similarly, the shelf life of Covishield had been extended by the national regulator from 6 months to 9 months in February last year, the government said.

"The shelf life of vaccines is extended by the national regulator based on comprehensive analysis and examination of stability study data furnished by the vaccine manufacturers," the statement further read.

Officials in the ministry told The New Indian Express that the shelf-life extension depended on details such as stability data of the vaccines.

"As the Covid-19 vaccines are getting older, there could be some revisions. That doesn't necessarily mean that we are making mistakes but that we are using more information to reach a conclusion," said a senior official.

There is an estimated population of 8-10 crore in the 15–17-year age group and as the registration began for their vaccination on January 1, nearly 6.5 registrations had been carried out for this age group.

There were however some technical hiccups with some hospitals sending out confirmation messages to beneficiaries saying that their slot for Covishield had been fixed, even though this Covid-19 vaccine by Serum Institute of India, for now, is not permitted for the adolescents due to regulatory reasons.



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