No Stop On Covishield: Government Sources As Nations Suspend AstraZeneca

Coronavirus Vaccination: The AEFI (Adverse Events Following Immunization) committee will meet in a day or two to discuss what needs to be done, sources said, adding that the ministry is looking at scientific evidence before taking any decision on Covishield.

Coronavirus Vaccine: Serum Institute is producing hundreds of millions of doses of Covishield.

New Delhi:

There is no question of stopping AstraZeneca's vaccine against coronavirus as of now, sources in the Union Health Ministry said amid blood clot fears that prompted several European Union nations, including Germany, Italy and France, to halt their rollout of the AstraZeneca shot.

Taking note of the news coming from other countries, Health Ministry sources said that so far, there have been no complaints of blood clotting reported in India among those who have taken the Covishield vaccine. The ministry met all states and union territories.

The AEFI (Adverse Events Following Immunization) committee  will meet in a day or two to discuss what needs to be done, sources said, adding that the ministry is looking at scientific evidence before taking any decision on the vaccine.

The vaccine, jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India, is known as Covishield in India.

Serum Institute, the world's biggest vaccine maker, is producing hundreds of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are the two vaccines currently being administered in the country.  The second phase of the vaccination drive, which began on March 1, aims to vaccinate those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 with illnesses.

30.39 lakh people were vaccinated on Monday, recording the highest single-day vaccinations since the inoculation drive began.

The three largest EU countries - Germany, Italy and France - all paused rollouts on Monday and were later joined by Spain, Portugal, Slovenia and Latvia. Indonesia too has announced a delay to its rollout of the vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Europe's medicines watchdog insisted that the AstraZeneca jab is safe to use. "We do not want people to panic and we would, for the time being, recommend that countries continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca," WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said.

"So far, we do not find an association between these events and the vaccine," she said, referring to reports of blood clots from several countries.

The fresh suspensions were a major blow to a global immunisation campaign that experts hope will help end a pandemic that has already killed over 2.6 million people and decimated the global economy.