COVID-19 Vaccine: Is the government ready for any eventuality post vaccination?
India is ready to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination drive nationwide, but is the government ready to deal with adverse results of the vaccination if any?
As the first consignments of COVID-19 vaccine for the first phase of the world’s largest immunisation drive in India are being delivered across states and Union Territories in the country, a quiet uneasiness and serious concern among the citizens over the safety aspects of the COVID-vaccine is being felt.
While doubts persist, the government poster reads ‘COVID-19 vaccine is safe’. However, several questions are being raised over safety concerns. How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine? Who will bear the responsibility in the event of any negative side effect that arises post vaccination? Is the government ready to take the responsibility of any adverse fallout of the world’s largest immunisation drive?
In Manipur, the state government received 54,000 doses of Covishield vaccine on Wednesday. The COVID-19 vaccination programme will be rolled out in 10 centres across the state on January 16. The first phase of the vaccination programme will be launched by Chief Minister N Biren Singh at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal.
However, the state government is "not yet ready to take the responsibility for any negative side effect arising from immunising the COVID-19 vaccine as the vaccination will not be forcibly given to an individual without the person’s consent," said director National Health Mission, Manipur Dr N Shyamjai.
Shyamjai was replying to queries by media persons on Thursday in a press conference held at the directorate of Family Welfare, Imphal in connection with the launching of the COVID-19 vaccination.
For any eventuality or side effect that arises post vaccination, facilities for treatment have been arranged in the vaccination centres, the director said.
Asserting that the same vaccine ‘Covishield’ which is currently used in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa successfully, will be used in Manipur too, he said, “Let’s wait till January 16 and hope for the best that it goes well in Manipur too.”
Pointing out that the vaccination programme is taken up by the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic for the welfare of the people, Shyamjai appealed to the public to get vaccinated.
Additional chief secretary P Vaiphei, who also attended the press meet, said that Covishield is manufactured by Serum Institute of India in collaboration with Oxford ASraZeneca and the vaccine has no report of side effect while using it in the UK and it is the most prescribed vaccine of COVID-19 by health professionals.
The vaccination programme will be conducted in 10 centres across the state as instructed by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry and later it will expand in the remaining health centres of the state, Vaiphei said.
Daily vaccination target
Only 100 persons will be vaccinated per day in a centre. Health experts will closely monitor all the vaccinated persons from pre to the post vaccination stage, the additional chief secretary added.
Vaiphei also said that the second dose of the vaccine will be given after 28 days from getting the first dose and the immunity will develop in two weeks after getting the second dose.
Health workers will be the beneficiaries of the first phase of the vaccination. However, health workers who are out stationed or on maternity leave will not be covered during the first phase of the vaccination programme, he said.
The vaccination programme for health workers is likely to complete within 80 days. Health workers volunteering for the COVID-19 vaccination will provide confidence to the public for COVID-19 vaccination, he added.
COVID-19 vaccine storage facility in the state
Stating that the state has two storage containers of the COVID vaccine with each having the capacity to store more than three lakhs vaccine and 12 vans for transportation of vaccines, Vaiphei assured that there will be no scarcity of vaccine in the state.
Earlier, the EUA application signed by Prakash Kumar Singh, Additional Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Serum Institute of India (SII), stated: "In terms of safety, Covishield was well tolerated, is safe and can be used effectively for prevention of COVID-19 in the targeted population".