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Cold chains in Silchar medical college fail, vaccine freeze

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Silchar, Jan 19: The Assam health department had decided to send a batch of 100 vials of covishield vaccine, that contains 1000 doses of the vaccine for a lab probe of its efficacy, after this batch of the vaccine were found ‘frozen’ in the vaccine store of the Silchar Medical college, in cahchar district.

A show-cause notice has been issued to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) where 1000 doses of Covishield, India’s COVID-19 vaccine, an official added.

The state health department is however not claiming the batch to be ‘waste’ yet and would get the vials tested in a lab to test the efficacy.

The incident happened last Saturday, the first day of the nationwide vaccination drive.

According to the guidelines of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, producer of Covishield in India, the vaccine needs to be kept at a temperature between 2-8 degrees Celsius, according to Assam’s cold-chain system, the vaccines are being transported and kept stored in Ice-Lined Refrigerators (ILRs) as specified by the Universal Immunization Programme for transporting and storing any vaccines.

ILRs, due to an extra lining of dry ice, continues to maintain the temperature even if power was cut for a long time.

“An investigation has been initiated to see where the lapse had taken place. There are chances of the vaccine getting frozen while being carried to the hospital or while kept stored in the hospital,” a senior health department official said.

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