Barely two weeks after being administered a trial vaccine shot of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Haryana’s Health Minister Anil Vij Saturday tested positive of the novel coronavirus. The 67-year-old BJP veteran is diabetic, and had recently undergone a surgery for a thigh bone fracture. He had volunteered to participate in the vaccine’s human phase trials, in which over 25,000 persons were administered trial doses.
Announcing that he had tested positive for Covid-19, Vij tweeted: “I have been tested Corona positive. I am admitted in Civil Hospital Ambala Cantt. All those who have come in close contact to me are advised to get themselves tested for corona.”
I have been tested Corona positive. I am admitted in Civil Hospital Ambala Cantt. All those who have come in close contact to me are advised to get themselves tested for corona.
— ANIL VIJ MINISTER HARYANA (@anilvijminister) December 5, 2020
Health department officials said Vij was under close surveillance by a team of doctors, and his health parameters were fine.
The Union Health Ministry as well as officials conducting the trials in the state said Vij’s infection could not be attributed to the vaccine, as even if he was among the volunteers who got the vaccine, it was only the first of two doses, and sufficient antibodies only develop after the second.
On November 20, Vij was the first in Haryana to participate in Covaxin’s trials. Besides Vij, over 400 persons from Haryana, including Rohtak PGIMS’ Vice Chancellor Dr. OP Kalra, too participated in the third phase human trials and took the vaccine shot.
A team of Rohtak Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences had administered the vaccine to Vij at Ambala Cantonment’s civil hospital. His health and vitals were being monitored on a weekly basis, ever since.
Vij had been going to his office at Haryana Civil Secretariat regularly since November 20. He has not taken the official accommodation, and has been staying at his residence in Ambala. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the public has been curtailed from visiting his residence by his security staff. However, he was still meeting a substantial number of people and hearing their grievances on a daily basis.
On Friday, a three-member delegation from the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), led by the party’s state chief Nishan Singh, Dushyant Chautala’s younger brother Digvijay Chautala and another JJP leader Randhir Singh, had met Vij at his office. Various journalists, too, had been regularly meeting Vij at the Haryana Civil Secretariat for briefings and interactions with the home-cum-health minister.
Three days ago, Vij had met Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and various top bureaucrats. He also met Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and both had shared pictures hugging each other. After Vij and Ramdev’s meetings, the Haryana government had announced that it would introduce Yoga as one of the subjects in the school curriculum from the next academic session.
After getting Covaxin’s trial shot for Covid-19, Vij had said: “It is a matter of pride for every Indian that Bharat Biotech is coming up with an indigenous vaccine for Covid-19. I had volunteered to become one of the participant for the third phase so that people shed their fears and come forward to volunteer. With this, the entire process of developing the vaccine shall be expedited. Today, people are facing so many difficulties due to this ongoing pandemic, people cannot attend family functions, they cannot go out to meet their loved ones, children cannot go to their schools/colleges, they cannot go out and watch movies in cinema halls, buses are running empty. People want to get rid of this pandemic as early as possible. That is the reason, I volunteered for getting the vaccination.”
He had added, “I have full faith in the capability and ability of our doctors. The first two trials that took place were for restricted categories. But, this third phase of trial is open for even high risk category people. I did not fear for even a minute. I got the vaccination and came to office and have resumed my work as any other routine day for me… Doctors kept me under observation for an hour and then allowed me to go. They checked my blood pressure and took my blood samples. They will monitor my health for one year and several blood tests will be conducted every month. I have no problem with that. Doctors can do any test on me, whenever they want. We have created a facility in Rohtak PGIMS and people can go there and volunteer to get the vaccine’s trial dose. I want that the trials should complete expeditiously.”x
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