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Serum Institute responds for first time on Covishield amid safety row

Serum Institute of India says it stopped manufacturing Covishield since December 2021

Serum Institute of India

Serum Institute of India

Barkha Mathur New Delhi

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Amid the concerns about Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), a rare side-effect caused by the AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine sold as Covishield in India, the Serum Institute of India (SII), which manufactured the drug, stated that all its product packaging had disclosed all "rare" to "very rare side-effects", including TTS. 

"We fully understand the ongoing concerns and it is crucial to emphasise our commitment to transparency and safety. From the outset, we disclosed all rare to very rare side-effects, including Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, in the packaging insert in 2021," said SII spokesperson.

SII spokesperson further added that the company had discontinued the manufacturing of Covishield in December 2021 due to ''the emergence of new mutant variant strains.'' 

"With India achieving high vaccination rates in 2021 and 2022, coupled with the emergence of new mutant variant strains, the demand for previous vaccines diminished significantly. Consequently, since December 2021, we have stopped the manufacturing and supply of additional doses of Covishield," the spokesperson said.

The company emphasised that the vaccine's safety "remains paramount" and highlighted that Covishield had been "instrumental in saving millions of lives worldwide."

"Despite the challenges faced during the global pandemic, the safety of the vaccine remains paramount. Regardless of whether it's AstraZeneca's Vaxzervria or our own Covishield, both vaccines have been instrumental in saving millions of lives worldwide. We commend the collaborative efforts of governments and ministries in facilitating a unified global response to the pandemic," said the company spokesperson. 

Earlier during the day, AstraZeneca initiated a global withdrawal of the vaccine. In a statement issued last week, the company expressed sympathy for those who have lost loved ones or reported health problems, but it also reiterated its commitment to patient safety and adherence to "stringent standards to ensure the safe use of all medicines..."

Watch: Covishield can cause blood clots, low platelet count. Here's all you should know

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First Published: May 08 2024 | 7:03 PM IST

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