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India Delays Covishield Exports Amid Rise of Covid; Center dispels security concerns | India News

NEW DELHI: With the rise in new Covid infections, India has temporarily suspended all major exports of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine, which is being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute, Reuters reported.
According to sources, the move will affect supplies to the GAVI / WHO-backed Covax vaccine exchange facility through which more than 180 mostly poor countries are expected to receive doses of the vaccine.
Through Covax, India has so far supplied 17.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, known locally as Covishield.
According to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there have been no exports of vaccines from India since Thursday.
The development comes at a time when India plans to expand its immunization campaign nationwide to include everyone over the age of 45 as of April 1.
The Center has also called on states to step up the vaccination program and raised concerns about the slowness of vaccines in some regions.
“Everything else has taken a backseat, at least for the moment,” one of the sources told Reuters.
“There are no exports, nothing until the moment the situation in India stabilizes. The government will not take such a great risk at the time when so many need to be vaccinated in India.”
‘Covishield is safe’
Meanwhile, the Center said Wednesday that there are no signs of concern regarding the Covishield vaccine amid reports of possible side effects such as blood clotting in some countries.
The expert committee that closely monitors and records adverse events after vaccines has concluded that thrombosis events due to Covishield in India are not a problem, he said.
“There is no signal for this concern. Covishield is safe, please proceed with its expansion and acceptance. We want to ensure that there is no risk of complications related to blood clotting that were suspected in some nations with Covishield”, Niti Aayog member ( Health), Dr. VK Paul, said in response to a query at a press conference.
ICMR CEO Dr Balram Bhargava said that both Covishield and Covaxin from Bharat Biotech are effective against variants of the virus in the UK and Brazil.
He was asked if the vaccines currently being used in India are effective against the three new worrying variants: the UK variant, the South African variant and the Brazilian variant.
(With input from PTI, Reuters)

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