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Monday, March 01, 2021

Karnataka doctors demand choice of Covid-19 vaccine before inoculation

At present, Covaxin is being administered only in district hospitals of Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Ballari, Shivamogga, Chamarajanagar, and Davangere.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: January 20, 2021 8:01:15 am
Data made public by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services indicated that 55,550 beneficiaries, all healthcare workers, were vaccinated during the first three days of the vaccination drive that began on Saturday.

The Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) has demanded the state government to allow healthcare workers to choose the Covid-19 vaccine that will be administered to them.

A letter written to Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar mentions that resident doctors in several districts in the state feel they are being discriminated against. At present, Covaxin is being administered only in district hospitals of Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Ballari, Shivamogga, Chamarajanagar, and Davangere.

“…the resident doctors are concerned that they have been given vaccine- Covaxin, whereas other centres in Karnataka have been receiving Covishield. 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 read.

It added, “The undertaking and the discrepancies in the distribution of the vaccine sounds very suspicious and the resident doctors are very guarded in getting vaccinated. Resident doctors from medical colleges at Shivamogga, Hassan, Chamarajnagar, and Ballari added that the matter is of great concern as the government decided to inject vaccine whose phase-III results are yet to be declared.”

Dr Dayanand Sagar, President of KARD told Indianexpress.com said the usage of Covaxin “on a trial basis” on healthcare workers is condemnable. “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. He explained that preference for Covishield is higher as Covaxin’s interim analysis report is not available.

However, Minister Sudhakar maintained that both the vaccines are “reliable”, citing the clearance given by the Drugs Controller General of India. “Healthcare workers can hence take Covaxin without any apprehensions,” he said.

Meanwhile, data made public by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services indicated that 55,550 beneficiaries, all healthcare workers, were vaccinated during the first three days of the vaccination drive that began on Saturday.

Karnataka reported an overall coverage of 47 per cent during the Covid-19 vaccination drive on Monday, much lower than the 58.4 and 63 per cent on Sunday and Saturday, respectively.

At the same time, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said 42 per cent of the targeted beneficiaries were vaccinated within the limits of the local body on Monday. Most coverage was recorded in RR Nagar (74%), followed by BBMP West (67%), and BBMP South (57%) respectively, data issued by the local civic body indicated.

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