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COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
The PGI doctors are concerned about the anti-Covid vaccines, especially Covaxin, as no efficacy studies are done on Covishield and Covaxin. And as a priority group, healthcare workers will be given the shots first.
There are few doctors who will not take the vaccine and few others for gaining confidence will wait till the safety data are published. The approval for emergency use authorisation (EUA) to these vaccines in India means that the health employees can be immunized anytime soon.
A PGI scientist said that a peer review journal has claimed that Pfizers vaccine has 95% efficacy, and is the best. But the Indian government is hesitant to buy due to its high cost and sophisticated maintenance. The Oxford vaccine (i.e., Indian version Covishield) has almost 60% efficacy, above the recommended 50%.
He further said that Indias Covaxin is undergoing phase-3 trial. There is no efficacy data or peer review available. The government has perhaps considered its safety data. He said that he might never take the shot unless he sees the efficacy data. Covaxin is the same as the Sputnik V vaccine of Russia, where the government has approved it without having its efficacy data.
It doesnt indicate that the doctors or healthcare workers are against these vaccines. Because of the absence of clarity on the efficacy data, they are just not confident about it and whether they provide any protection. Also, a member of the PGI faculty said that they will take a vaccine to achieve herd immunity but with proven and confirmed efficacy. Currently, only the Oxford vaccine seems available and is safe but none of other vaccine candidates have proved efficacy in Indian population.
Chandigarh’s 8,830 healthcare workers, those included in the private sector, have enrolled for the priority vaccine shot in the 1st phase. A PGI epidemiologist said that they shouldnt hurry the vaccination. It is better to wait for more three to six months till the efficacy data from other countries comes out and our country’s vaccine trials have a longer follow-up. In this coronavirus pandemic, Indias mortality rate is very different from other countries. They dont even know if these vaccines provide any long-term protection. Simple precautionary measures such as universal masking is better.
The central government has approved a walk-in-refrigerator to Chandigarh for supplementing its vaccination effort. Post-COVID-care clinics will operate in Government Medical College and Hospital and Government Multi-Specialty Hospital as doctors monitor an average of 20 COVID-19 patients every day.
Source: The Times of India