As the Indian government looks to vaccine all adults by the end of 2021, doses of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin have been held up by a 'quality issue'. According to Dr N K Arora, Chief of National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, test batches of the jab produced at the new Bengaluru plant had delayed the production of Covaxin, leading to shortages.
"The test batches of that plant weren't satisfactory and got rejected which led to delay in ramping up production, but now the batches have been approved by the competent authority and will be available for public consumption," he told news agency ANI.
It must be clarified here that the the issue has not affected the quality of the Covaxin doses presently available in India. Nor is the quality of the vaccine as a whole in question. As Arora explained to NDTV, the "quality issues" seen in the initial batches had led to a shortage, before they could produce "clear quality". The problematic batches were not released for public usage.
"But the third and fourth batches have now come up which have moved forward," he told NDTV, expressing hope that production would ramp up in the next four to six weeks.
In related news, discussions between India and US-based COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers continue. According to Arora this includes Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. It however remains unclear as to when these discussions will conclude or what the final outcome will be. "As I understand there are negotiations going on between the government and US-based manufacturers. It is not only Moderna and Pfizer but also Johnson and Johnson involved in the discussion," he said in an exclusive interview with ANI.
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