Hyderabad: A message is going viral on social media stating that the vaccine for Covid-19, produced by Bharat Biotech has received permission from the central government, will be available in the market from August 15, 2020. The message is being shared with a letter from the ICMR about fast-tracking the clinical trials of the vaccine.
Archived claim can be found here.
The claim that the vaccine will be available in the market from August 15 is FALSE.
Using the keywords ‘ICMR Bharat Biotech Vaccine will be available from Aug 15’ we found several news articles reporting ICMR-Bharat Biotech to launch Covid vaccine by August 15, 2020. These news articles can be seen in The Hindu, India Today, News18.
By this, we found that the letter was genuine. The ICMR letter only mentions to launch the vaccine by August 15, 2020, and not make the vaccine available in the market.
While being interviewed by The New India Express, the Bharat Biotech chairman said that “if the clinical trials of Covaxin go well and meet the highest safety and efficacy standards, and if the regulators approve of them, it can be available for mass use by early 2021”
On July 2, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that they hoped to have the vaccine by August 15. It announced that it wanted to "launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15". And as the date of the apparent 'launch' of the vaccine approaches, social media posts claim that it will be available in the market from August 15.
A letter from ICMR about fast-tracking the clinical trials of the vaccine is also doing rounds on social media. It says "as Bharat Biotech vaccine received permission from central government, it will be available in the market from August 15 as Corona vaccine. Great news today, see official permission."
Soon ICMR drew the criticism for their haste decision regarding the launch date of the vaccine and clarified through a press release.
In a statement, the ICMR said that “Based on in-depth scrutiny of the available data from pre-clinical studies, the Drugs Controller General of India has accorded permission to conduct phase 1 and 2 clinical trials.
ICMR’s process is exactly in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track the vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential wherein human and animal trials can continue in parallel.
The letter by DG-ICMR to investigators of the clinical trial sites was meant to cut unnecessary red tape, without bypassing any necessary process, and speed up recruitment of participants”.
Hence, the claim that COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the market from August 15 is FALSE.