RML resident docs raise concerns over Covaxin shots
A section of resident doctors at the Central government-run Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital expressed apprehension regarding the use of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on the first day of Covid-19 vaccination drive, and requested the hospital’s medical director to give them a shot of Covishield instead.
“We would like to bring to your notice that the residents are a bit apprehensive about the lack of complete trial in case of Covaxin and might not participate in huge numbers thus defeating the purpose of vaccination. We request you to vaccinate us with Covishield, which has completed all stages of trial before its roll out,” the letter written by some of the representative of the resident doctors’ association at the hospital said.
The letter was not on the official letterhead of the Resident Doctors’ Association and had not been signed by the president of the organisation.
Dr Nirmalaya Mohapatra, the vice president of the organisation and one of the signatories of Saturday’s letter said, “We have been having regular discussions about the vaccination drive with the resident doctors and realised that they were not very enthusiastic about Covaxin. This will only hamper the vaccination drive. We are not against any vaccine; however safety data from phase III is not available for Covaxin. So, Covishield is the logical choice.”
“We came to know only last night that the hospital has received Covaxin and hence wrote the letter on Saturday,” he said.
The medical superintendent of the hospital Dr AK Singh Rana said that the hospital did a “decent job” during the vaccination drive on Saturday. The hospital saw 31 health care workers receive the shot after signing an informed consent form as mandated by the country’s apex drug regulator that gave the vaccine an approval in “clinical trial mode.”
“The numbers are of course less than expected, and that is the case everywhere. Whenever something new happens, people are a little hesitant and that is the reason probably we saw fewer beneficiaries coming in. As for which vaccine the hospital gets, the decision is taken by senior level officers and it is not my place to question that. However, I will try to speak to the resident doctors on Monday and allay their concerns,” said Dr Rana, who himself received the shot on Saturday.
“If I did not think the vaccine was safe, I would not have taken it. Perhaps they will see this and decide to get the vaccine,” he added.
The hospital was one of the 81 centres across the city that was to vaccinate 100 people each on Saturday.