Explained: How to identify fake COVID-19 vaccines? Check the list of parameters issued by the Centre
Days after the World Health Organization (WHO) identified counterfeit versions of Covishield in South-East Asia and Africa, the Government of India issued guidelines to ascertain genuine products.
The guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry are based on the information received from the three manufacturers of Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik-- the three vaccines being administered in India-- to help identify and avoid administering fake vaccines in the country.
“The falsified products were reported to WHO in July and August 2021. The genuine manufacturer of COVISHIELD (Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd.) has confirmed that the products listed are falsified. These falsified products have been reported at the patient level in Uganda, India and Myanmar,” noted WHO.
The global health body advised, "The use of genuine COVID-19 vaccines should be in accordance with official guidance from national regulatory authorities. Falsified COVID-19 vaccines pose a serious risk to global public health and place an additional burden on vulnerable populations and health systems. It is important to detect and remove these falsified products from circulation to prevent harm to patients."
"It has been claimed that duplicate versions of the Covishield vaccine were sold in the country. The Indian government is probing this claim and will take action if it found any substance to the allegations," said Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
How to identify fake COVID-19 vaccines?
The list of parameters is based on the label, colour and other details about the product. Below is the list of parameters for Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik.
A. List of Parameters for Covishield
1- The SII product's label colour shade is Pantone 355C while the colour of the aluminium flip-off seal is dark green.
2- The brand name with the trademark "COVISHIELD" is mentioned on the original vaccine.
3- The text is printed in special white ink to be more clear and readable.
4-The font of the Generic name is un-bold.
5- The label is overprinted with "CGS NOT FOR SALE".
6- SII logo is printed at a unique angle and position which can only be identified by a select few who are aware of the exact details.
7- The entire label has been given a honeycomb effect in certain strategic places and is only visible at a specific angle.
B. List of Parameters for Covaxin
1- An invisible UV helix (DNA like structure) is present on the label of the vial which is visible only under UV light.
2- It also contains hidden microdots that spell Covaxin.
3- The brand has a “green foil effect” in “X” of Covaxin’s spelling.
4- There is also a holographic effect on the word COVAXIN.
C. List of Parameters for Sputnik
1- There are two different labels for the Russian Covid-19 vaccine. This is because the imported vaccine is from two different bulk manufacturing sites. All the other information and design on the vial is the same except for the manufacturer's name.
2- The English label is available on the front and back of the carton of the 5 ampoule packs for all imported vaccines. All other sides and the primary label on the ampoule has the text in Russian.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), more than 68.75 crore people (68,75,41,762) have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.