NDTV journalist Sreenivasan Jain on Monday took to Twitter to make a startling revelation that Dr N K Arora, Chairperson of National Vaccine Advisory Group said that the initial batches of India-made Chinese coronavirus vaccine Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin ‘were not of the right quality’.
Breaking: the head of the Govt’s vaccine advisory panel Dr NK Arora tells me initial batches of Covaxin ‘were not of the right quality’. @OnReality_Check— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) August 2, 2021
This tweet went viral and by the time of writing this report, had about 2,000 retweets and over 5,000 likes. An hour and 30 minutes later, however, Jain ‘clarified’ that these batches were not administered.
As per Dr Arora, these doses from the initial batches with quality issues (manufactured at the Bangalore plant) were never sent out. The new batches have passed quality checks, he says. @OnReality_Check— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) August 2, 2021
By then, however, the misleading tweet with partial information had already gone viral. The said doses which ‘fell short’ on quality were never sent out.
These tweets by Jain have about 100-150 retweets, showing how the tweet which has potential to create vaccine hesitancy against Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin reached far and wide while the subsequent clarification did not get that much traction.
Here is what Dr Arora had actually said.
.@OnReality_Check | "Initial couple of batches (of #Covaxin produced in Bengaluru plant) were not of the right quality": Dr N K Arora, Head of the government's vaccine advisory panel, on Covaxin falling short of targets#CovidVaccine pic.twitter.com/dpKTXonoAy— NDTV (@ndtv) August 2, 2021
Jain questioned Dr Arora over lower number of doses manufactured by Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. Dr Arora said that the government was expecting a much sharper rise in manufacturing of Covaxin. “We expect anywhere between 10-12 crore doses by Bharat Biotech. Their Bengaluru plant is one of the largest vaccine manufacturing plant globally. But initial couple of batches did not pass the quality.. whatever.. it was not of the right quality. Now third or fourth batch has come up which is much better. In next four or six weeks, the vaccine production will really ramp up from Bharat Biotech,” he said.
Dr Arora added that Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech are two suppliers of vaccines in India.
Meanwhile, Twitter has not yet flagged Jain’s tweet as misleading. Why let facts get into the way of mischief that has potential to derail India’s vaccination programme, which is the largest in the world.