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New beneficiaries to get Covaxin doses from today: PMC health chief

Need to increase Covaxin centres, use both Covaxin and Covishield as per availability, says State health secretary.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
March 14, 2021 10:57:54 pm
Covaxin, India covid vaccination, Covaxin clinical trial, Covaxin authorisation, Indian express, Indian express news

Hospitals across Pune and other districts have been directed to start administering Covaxin doses from Monday. State Health Secretary Dr Pradeepkumar Vyas told The Indian Express that there was a need to increase Covaxin vaccination centres and use both vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield – as per availability.

The Centre has made a strong push to administer Bharat Biotech-made Covaxin against SARS-CoV2 virus. Covaxin is now in regular emergency use authorisation and no longer in clinical trial mode with Bharat Biotech reporting an 80.6 percent efficacy as part of its interim Phase-III trial data.

While Covaxin was administered across a few centres in the state, the numbers will be expanded. In Pune district, only district hospital at Aundh was administering Covaxin. State Immunisation Officer Dr D N Patil said the Centre will release the vaccine doses and accordingly, both Covaxin and Covishield will be distributed to districts.

However, for Covaxin, there is no need for the vaccination centre to take a letter of consent from the beneficiary or to inform that the vaccine was in trial mode. “The Covaxin dose can be administered without filling this format,” Dr Patil told The Indian Express.

While the country is nearing the 3 crore cumulative vaccination doses, nearly 28.19 lakh people have been inoculated in Maharashtra. Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, deputy director of health, Pune circle that includes Pune, Satara and Solapur districts, said there were two Covaxin vaccination centres in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and two more will be shortly set up in the Pune Municipal Corporation. In the Pune Municipal Corporation area, a total of 1.58 lakh beneficiaries, including 69,391 senior citizens (above 60 years), have been vaccinated so far.

Chief Medical Officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation Dr Ashish Bharati said they had been instructed to distribute Covaxin doses to the vaccination centres. “From Monday, new beneficiaries will get vaccine shots of Bharat Biotech made Covaxin. The doses of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield will be reserved to vaccinate those who have received the first dose of that vaccine,” Dr Bharati added.

The PMC had asked for one lakh doses. “We have got 50,000 doses of Covaxin today and will get the remaining doses over the next two days. From now on, the new beneficiaries will be administered Covaxin,” Dr Bharati said.

While vaccination centres have initially purchased doses of Covishield vaccine, health officials at the PMC have asked them to reserve them to administer the second dose.

“At present, we do not have doses of Covishield at our store, and as and when the Centre releases the shipments to the state, we will get our stock,” Dr Bharati said.

New beneficiaries, who want Covishield vaccine as their first dose, will have to wait, PMC health officials said.

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The officials informed that several changes will have to be made while issuing the provisional certificate once the vaccine is administered.

At present, all vaccination centres, barring district hospital Aundh, have been registering certificates as recipients get Covishield doses. Now changes will have to be made accordingly while issuing the provisional certificate to those taking Covaxin jabs. Pune district health officials have asked for six lakh doses of the vaccine.

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