COVID-19 vaccine: Six out of 243 centres to get Covaxin

All centres will have a live webcast link with national vaccine launch

Even as concerns over the lack of substantial efficacy data of Covaxin persist, 600 healthcare workers at six vaccine session sites of Karnataka will be administered Covaxin on Saturday.

Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said Covaxin will be administered at vaccine sites set up in district hospitals of Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Ballari, Shivamogga, Chamarajanagar and Davangere. He was speaking to presspersons after holding a video conference with DCs, ZP CEOs and district health officers regarding the vaccination drive.

The drive will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 243 centres of the State at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday. Of these, two sites – Victoria Hospital, BMCRI, and Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubballi, – have been selected for the virtual launch of the campaign by the Prime Minister.

All the 243 centres will have a live webcast link with national vaccine launch. These include 18 district hospitals, 13 government medical colleges, five private medical colleges, six private hospitals, 145 taluka hospitals, 27 Primary Health Centres (PHC) and 19 Urban PHCs.

“We have received 20,000 doses of Covaxin manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. We will use this in six centres while Covishield will be used in the remaining 237 centres,” said Mr. Sudhakar.

Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said the healthcare workers will not have an option to choose the vaccine. “We have chosen the six district hospital centres for Covaxin as the number of beneficiaries there match with the number of doses that we have received,” he said.

The 20,000 doses received so far will be used for both the doses in a gap of 28 days, he said.

Allaying concerns over lack of efficacy data, the Commissioner said there have been enough number of trials and no adverse effects have been reported. Both the vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – have been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and both are safe vaccines, he said.

Asserting that the COVID-19 vaccination programme is the country’s most well- planned exercise, the Commissioner said the programme will be carried out in a systematic manner similar to an election. He said there will be five personnel deployed in each vaccine session site including a vaccinator.

Adverse events

Utmost care will be taken to record adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) if any. Specialist doctors will be available to monitor and manage AEFI. Besides, extensive AEFI management training has been given to vaccinators, said the Commissioner.

He said the plan is to complete vaccinating all the registered healthcare workers by January end. During mid-February, the Prime Minister will have another round of interaction with Chief Ministers of various States to take a call on the roll out of vaccination for other groups.

M.K. Sudarshan, chairman, State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), who will be one among those who will be vaccinated on Saturday, said he will take whichever vaccine he will be administered. “There is no need to have any doubts about any vaccine. The DCGI has approved them after a lot of research has proved them safe. On assessment, the benefit of vaccination outweighs the risk of COVID-19 infection,” he said.

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