Karnataka: Resident Doctors Demand Right To Choose Between Covishield, Covaxin Before Administration
Bengaluru: Demanding that resident doctors and healthcare workers in the State should be given the right to choose between the two newly introduced Covid-19 vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield before inoculation, the Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) has raised objections to Covaxin being administered to them while many centers in Karnataka receiving Covishield.
On January 3, India gave emergency use authorization to two COVID-19 vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin - both being manufactured in the country. While Covishield has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, Covaxin is an indigenous vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). On January 16, a massive pan-India Covid-19 vaccination drive was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pay tribute to healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and scientists who were at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic.
However, in Karnataka, a disposition to incredulity towards the Covid-19 vaccine erupted after a 43-year-old health worker in Karnataka's Bellary died of cardiac arrest on Monday, barely two days after he was administered a Covid-19 vaccine. The deceased was a permanent employee of the health department who was vaccinated on January 16 around 1 pm and was normal till Monday morning.
"Today morning when he came to duty, he complained of chest pain at around 9.30 am and collapsed. He was treated immediately and referred to Jindal Sanjeeveni hospital for further treatment where he was admitted at 11.15 am. The highest level of treatment was provided, but he could not be saved," the department said in a statement as quoted by ANI on January 19.
In wake of the event, KARD moved a letter with the Karnataka Health Minister pointing out that the stage III trial of Covaxine developed by Bharat Biotech is still on and under such circumstances, they should be given the choice to decide whether to accept the vaccine or not.
"… Before receiving Covaxin we have been made to take the undertaking stating that the clinical efficacy of Covaxin is yet to be established," the letter added.
"Further, the undertaking made to sign by us is worded suspiciously. Instead, healthcare workers should be given an option to choose a vaccine. The government should administer vaccines that have passed at least the interim analysis stage," he said.
The Association condemned the usage of Covaxin "on a trial basis" on healthcare workers. Dr Sagar explained that preference for Covishield is higher as Covaxin's interim analysis report is not available.
Sudhakar said as quoted by ANI, "First of all, taking the vaccine is not mandatory. There is no choice given in selecting a vaccine as Drugs Controller General of India has cleared both Covishield and Covaxin. I humbly appeal to all doctors, citizens to accept Covaxin."
To access the official letter by KARD, click on the link below-