Guwahati/Silchar (Assam), Jan 19, 2021, IANS
Authorities in Assam are probing how the 1,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine Covishield were found "frozen" in the vaccine store of the Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH), officials said on Tuesday.
Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli and state National Health Mission Director Lakshmanan S. have separately ordered probes to identify the reason for the 100 vials of Covishield, containing 1,000 doses, being "frozen".
Health officials in Guwahati, however, are not labelling the 100 vials or the 1,000 doses a "waste" yet as they would get them tested in a laboratory to test the efficacy of the vaccine. According to SMCH officials, the development was noticed on Saturday, the first day of the nationwide vaccination drive. According to the guidelines of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, producer of Covishield in India, the vaccine needs to be kept at a temperature between 2-8 degrees Celsius.
Under Assam's cold-chain system, the vaccines are being transported and kept stored in Ice-Lined Refrigerators (ILRs) as specified by the Universal Immunisation Programme for transporting and storing any vaccines.
"Probe is now on, where the shortcoming and lapses had taken place. There are chances of the vaccine getting frozen while being carried to the hospital or while kept stored in the hospital," an official said on condition of anonymity. He also said that the ILR automatic monitoring system was also not functioning properly.
Assam got both Covishield and Covaxin. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech is manufacturer of India's first indigenous vaccine Covaxin while Covishield was developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India.