Resident doctors at New Delhi’s Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital have written to the Medical Superintendent asking for them to be vaccinated against COVID-19 using the Covishield vaccine instead of Covaxin.
In the letter dated January 16, the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) said its present members are a “bit apprehensive about the lack of complete trial in case of Covaxin.” The doctors said that Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech was being preferred at the hospital’s vaccination site over Covishield produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII). Covaxin is still undergoing phase-3 trials.
The association further claimed that due to this apprehension, resident doctors “might not participate in huge numbers, thus defeating the purpose of vaccination.”
“We request you to vaccinate us with Covishield which has completed all stages of the trail before its rollout,” the letter reads.
India began its massive COVID-19 vaccination exercise on January 16. Priority is being given to healthcare and frontline workers, who had already been registered on the purpose-built CoWIN application.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved both vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – for restricted emergency use. However, beneficiaries will not be able to choose between the two jabs.
While launching the vaccination drive on January 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked the people to be aware of propaganda and rumours about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for public use in India.
“Our Indian scientists and experts have guaranteed the safety of the vaccine, so the people of the country must not listen to any kind of propaganda and rumours surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine,” PM Modi said.
As of January 16, India had reported more than 1.05 crore confirmed COVID-19 cases. The death toll from the outbreak in the country stood at over 1.52 lakh. While more than 1.01 crore patients had recovered, 2.11 lakh cases remained ‘active’. Globally, more than 9.32 crore individuals have been infected by the virus and over 20 lakh people have died so far.
A speedy rollout of vaccines is being seen as the best way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and restore normalcy in the pandemic-battered global economy. More than 50 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already vaccinated a large number of people from high-risk groups.
The Centre is hoping to vaccinate 30 crore people by July, in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic.