How the India’s booster dose scheme subverted drug approval procedures


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In celebration of 75 years of Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced free booster doses at government vaccination centres for 75 days from July 15 to September 30, 2022. A few days after this announcement, the news website The Wire published a shocking story on how the Central Drug Standards Control Organisation - the CDSCO - the country’s drug regulatory agency- never approved of precautionary doses.

In this episode, we speak to Banjot Kaur, the reporter who broke this important story this July. Early this year, a Telangana court asked The Wire to take down several articles related to vaccine policy based on a defamation suit by Bharat Biotech, which manufactures Covaxin. One of these stories pulled down was Banjot’s story. She has been writing on science and public health for 12 years, and has worked at Down to Earth Magazine and Times of India.


PM Modi's address to the nation
Exclusive: Nobody Approved India’s ‘Precautionary’ Doses – The Wire Science
Press briefing on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on COVID-19, Dated: 24.12.2021
10 Questions the Indian Govt Must Answer About Vaccines for Minors and Boosters
DCGI clears Bharat Biotech, SII COVID-19 vaccines but efficacy question unanswered

See for privacy information.


1. The Wire's story on how CDSCO did not approve (00:01:58)

2. Background of how PM's announcement was suspic (00:03:00)

3. Process of approving vaccine before its rolled (00:05:48)

4. Filing of RTI and its replies (00:08:26)

5. Questions unanswered by DGCI (00:16:16)

6. WHO suspends supply of Covaxin to UN agencies (00:24:06)

7. Nationalist pride on vaccine programme (00:29:40)

8. Necessary for journalists to raise questions (00:33:44)

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