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WHO Suspends Covaxin Supply to UN Agencies

WHO Suspends Covaxin Supply to UN Agencies

Former health minister Harsh Vardhan holds up a dose of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, at a vaccination campaign at AIIMS New Delhi. Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Hyderabad: The WHO has confirmed it has suspended the supply of Covaxin, produced by city-based Bharat Biotech, through UN procurement agencies and recommending to countries that received the COVID-19 vaccine to take actions as appropriate.

A statement issued by the WHO on Saturday said the suspension is in response to the outcomes of its post-emergency use license inspection held between March 14 and March 22, 2022, and the need to conduct process and facility upgrade to address recently identified good manufacturing practice (GMP) deficiencies.

There will be interruption of supply of Covaxin due to suspension of production for export, WHO said. The risk assessment to date does not indicate change in the risk-benefit ratio. The data, available to WHO, indicate the vaccine is effective and no safety concern exists, WHO said.

Company officials could not be reached immediately for a response.

Bharat Biotech on April 1 announced the temporary slowing down of production of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin across its manufacturing facilities, having completed its supply obligations to procurement agencies and foreseeing the decrease in demand.

During the recent WHO inspection, Bharat Biotech agreed with the former’s team on the scope of the planned improvement activities and indicated that they will be executed as soon as possible.

The company has committed to comply by addressing the GMP deficiencies and is developing a corrective and preventive action plan, for submission to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and the WHO.

In the interim and as a precautionary measure, the company has indicated its commitment to suspend its production of Covaxin for exports, the WHO said.

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