Srinagar DC, doctor slug it out over Covid vax safety
A verbal spat over what is scientific or unscientific over Covid-19 vaccination is playing out between a health expert and a prominent bureaucrat in Kashmir.
The row ensued as influenza expert Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan, who heads a faction of Doctors’ Association of Kashmir (DAK), stated that people allergic to any ingredient of Covid vaccine should not receive the jab.
This drew a sharp retort from Srinagar deputy commissioner (DC) Mohammad Aijaz Asad who shot a letter to the UT’s medical education department seeking action over Hassan’s statement terming it “antithetical to scientific evidence”.
On Sunday, DAK issued a statement against Asad criticising his letter as “unscientific and defamatory”.
“The DC’s letter is unscientific and misleading. He has created a story which is everything but science. The contents of the letter are intimidating and harassing. This has demoralised the whole medical fraternity …,” it said quoting DAK general secretary Dr Suhail Shah.
“If a doctor will not do the talking during the pandemic, then who will,” it questioned.
On June 2, Hassan, who is a regular at updating about various aspects and research regarding Covid and has been a strong advocate for vaccination, had said, “If you are allergic to any component of the vaccine, you are advised not to take it”.
“However, if you have a history of allergic reactions that aren’t related to Covid vaccine such as food, medicine, latex, insects and environmental triggers, you may take the shot,” he had said.
The DC’s letter to the government has sought action against this statement.
Asad said as of June 1, 33,23,862 doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in Jammu and Kashmir, and no severe/ adverse effects of its ingredients have been detected in 99.99% beneficiaries.
“The statement has created apprehensions among general public about the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccine. Such kind of unscientific, un-researched statements lead to erosion of faith in medical science and dampen the efforts to vaccinate the targeted population,” the DC’s letter said.
Condemning the letter, DAK spokesperson Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dagga said the contents of the letter are “baseless, unscientific and defamatory for the DAK president.
“Dr Nisar is a senior consultant at GMCH Srinagar and is also an influenza and pandemic expert. He has been at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic by treating Covid patients tirelessly since the public health crisis began in 2020,” said DAK’s Sunday statement.