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Anxiety, fear among healthcare providers over Covaxin, say experts

As India undertakes vaccination drive, 6.75 lakh frontline workers have received COVID-19 vaccine doses in the first four days. This includes over 2.2 lakh people who were vaccinated yesterday. The government had set a target of three lakh vaccinations per day.

The government press release mentioned that so far nine recipients who have suffered adverse effects following the inoculation have needed hospitalisation. However, it did not mention the exact number of people who have suffered adverse effects. Last evening, the health secretary had said that 0.18 percent of the recipients had shown adverse effect so far.

Doctor K Senthil, President of the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association and Doctor Dayanand Sagar, the President of Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors spoke to CNBC-TV18. These associations have reached out to the respective states government suggesting that Covaxin which is the Bharat Biotech vaccine should not be administered.

“When the government started the vaccination programme for COVID-19, there were some anxiety and fear among healthcare providers and even among doctors with regard to the safety of vaccines available especially with regards to Covaxin where their phase III trials results were not out,” Senthil said.

“We immediately sought opinion on that from a committee of experts and based on the opinion that we got we came out with some decisions. Based on that first decision is – it is essential for all the doctors to get vaccinated. The next one is out of the two vaccines offered we advised and recommended having Covishield for all the government doctors in Tamil Nadu.”

Doctor Dayanand Sagar said, “Wherever Covaxin is being provided, what is very suspicious is that consent form that they are taking – it is mentioned that phase I and phase II trials are being done. We are not very sure if it is effective or not. When they themselves declare it is very difficult to get vaccinated. Also they enrolling the healthcare workers in the phase II trials where we have to give consent signatures saying that we are also a part of the trial which we strongly condemn it.”

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