Mumbai: 100 days after first shot, no clarity on which dose Andheri woman got
It’s been over 100 days since 58-year-old Meena Upadhyaya received her first jab of the Covid-19 vaccine, but confusion about which vaccine she received has led to a delay in her second shot. While Upadhyaya says the hospital is not confident about which dose she got, the hospital says she got Covishield.
The Andheri resident took her first dose at the Holy Spirit Hospital on April 16. A receipt acknowledging the payment of ₹250 was also stamped with Covishield. On May 14, 84 days after the first shot when Upadhyaya became eligible for the second dose, she found that her certificate on Co-WIN mentioned Covaxin. “We immediately rushed to the hospital for clarity. They told us that their records showed that she was given Covaxin,” said Upadhyaya’s husband, Kishore. “But there was no vaccine stock available with them. A few weeks later, the hospital said that she had received Covishield. We are worried to take the second shot as the hospital is not confident about which vaccine was exactly administered to her,” he said.
When Hindustan Times reached out to Sister Sneha Joseph, the executive director of Holy Spirit Hospital, she said that their inquiry showed that Upadhyaya was administered Covishield. “We have received Covaxin on two to three vaccination days only,” said Joseph. “We have administered Covishield on all other days. We are sure that she (Upadhyaya) was administered Covishield.”
Upadhyaya is worried about the possible side effects if she lands up getting a mixed dose. In this scenario, it could be a possibility that there was an error while entering the data on CoWin. The other possibility could also be that the hospital receipt was mistakenly stamped with Covishield. Joseph refused to comment on whether there was an error in the data entry or stamping.
Prashant Sapkale, assistant municipal commissioner of the K-East ward that covers Andheri, said that a mixed dose is not advisable as per the Centre’s protocol. “The hospital has to thoroughly investigate which vaccine was given and only then administer the second dose,” he said, adding, “We will look into our records about the vaccines that were supplied to the hospital. Our medical team will also visit the hospital to look into their records.”
Oxford- AstraZeneca’s Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have very distinct technologies. Covishield has been made with a viral vector platform, while Covaxin is an inactivated viral vaccine.
Last month, India’s central drug authority permitted Christian Medical College, Vellore to conduct a clinical trial by mixing the two vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin. Findings of a study carried out in Spain showed potent immune response by administering a mix of Oxford–AstraZeneca and Pfizer–BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccines. Another study carried out in the United Kingdom on the same combination of vaccines observed that people experienced higher vaccine-related side effects. In June, the Indian Council of Medical Research mandated that vaccination centres stick to the protocol of administering the same vaccines. “Vaccines are meant to work on our immune system and mount the immune response to make antibodies,” said infectious disease expert Dr Om Shrivastava. “Till the evidence proves otherwise, giving mixed doses would mean unnecessarily playing with the immune system. This is not advisable.”
However, physician Dr Jalil Parkar, who practises at Bandra’s Lilavati Hospital, said there is nothing to worry about in case of a mixed dose. “The safety of both the vaccines has been established,” he said. Vaccination expert Dr Naveen Thacker, who is also a former civil society representative to GAVI, the vaccine alliance board, said Upadhyaya should go ahead and take the second jab.
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