Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin,
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin,

In Madhya Pradesh, organisations seek to stop Covaxin trial

  • Covaxin is India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech.
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sparshita Saxena, Bhopal
UPDATED ON JAN 10, 2021 10:11 PM IST

Four organisations working for Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday demanding immediate stopping of Cocaxin trial in Bhopal, compensation to the family, which they alleged, lost its member due to the vaccine trial and punishment to officials responsible for irregularities.

Covaxin is India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech. While the latter as well as People’s College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, a private medical college conducting the trial, clarified on Saturday that the volunteer didn’t die due to the vaccine trial, the state government gave a clean chit to the medical college in connection with the death.

"The volunteer, at the time of enrolment, had fulfilled all the inclusion and exclusion criteria to be accepted as a participant in the Phase III trial and was reported to be healthy in all the site follow up calls post seven days of his dosing and no AE's were observed or reported," said Bharat Biotech in its clarification through media on Saturday.

"As per the post-mortem report issued by the Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, the probable cause of death was due to cardiorespiratory failure as a result of suspected poisoning and the case is under police investigation as well," Bharat Biotech added.

Also read: PM Modi to meet chief ministers on Monday over Covid-19 vaccine rollout

The organisations which raised their voice against the vaccine trial in the letter include Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, and Children Against Dow Carbide.

Talking to media, Rasheeda Bee from Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said at least 700 of 1,700 people on whom the vaccine was being tested were those suffering from ailments caused by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. One gas victim already died within 10 days of getting the trial shot and many continued to have health complaints of serious nature. No one had been punished for the death of 13 gas victims who died during trials by pharmaceutical companies in Bhopal some twelve years back.

“We are writing to the Prime Minister to ensure there is no repeat,” she added.

She said, “Family of the gas victim who died during the Covaxin trial should be paid 50 lakhs as is done in the case of deceased Corona warriors".

Also read: 'Bogus claim,' says BJP after Bengal CM announces free Covid-19 vaccine for all

Rachna Dhingra from Bhopal Group for Information & Action said, "People whose health is compromised due to Union Carbide's poisons are being given the Covaxin trial shots without their knowledge or consent. No records are kept of the health problems the trial's participants have had following the shots and several have been turned away without tending the adverse effect of the shots. Trial participants who leave or are excluded halfway are denied care and are not followed up."

Shehzadi Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said, "In addition to immediate stoppage of the trial and compensation for the gas victim who has died during this trial, we demand a thorough and impartial audit, criminal punishment to officials and institutions responsible for this public health disaster and compensation for injuries caused due to trial vaccines."

Nousheen Khan of the Children Against Dow Carbide said, "By ignoring the ongoing criminal irregularities in the Covaxin trial in Bhopal, the government is potentially unleashing a public health disaster."

Dean of People’s College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Dr Anil Dixit said, “There is no possibility of the death (of the vaccine trial participant), that took place 9 days after getting the vaccine, caused due to the trial. Also, since the trial is a blinded trial, it’s not known if the volunteer was administered the vaccine or placebo.”

Minister for medical education Vishwas Sarang said, “A committee was immediately instituted to look into the matter and found no irregularities.”

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