Refusing to take doses of Covishield vaccine, eight doctors hailing from Mumbai got themselves inoculated with Covaxin in JJ Hospital on Wednesday.
Among those who opted for Covaxin on Wednesday were a gynaecologist, his paediatrician wife and their son, two ophthalmologists, a port health official and a critical care physician from Panvel.
Talking to Times of India, the recipients shed light on the reasons why they chose to be vaccinated by Covaxin.
Dr Vivel Giri, the port health officer said he opted for Covaxin as he had more faith in its technology which uses inactivated virus and was certain that it could tackle mutated strains.
Panvel-based critical care physician Dr Supriya Sahastrabuddhe also expressed faith in its time tested technology which had worked in hepatitis and rotavirus vaccines.
Dean of JJ Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar said it was encouraging that doctors were keen on Covaxin. “We will be willing to give it to anybody wanting to take it voluntarily even if they are not a part of the JJ group,” he said.
Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and Indian Council of Medical Research has been in controversy since it was granted an emergency approval before completion of phase 3 trials. The vaccine is given in a ‘clinical trial mode’ with an informed consent signed by recipients.
The hospital authorities had been struggling to promote the use of this vaccine to prospective recipients, however, the turnover of hospital staff taking Covaxin has still been quite low. On Wednesday, 18 in all took the vaccine, including the eight doctors down from 36 on Day 6.
However, the administration of this vaccine to the eight medics has ushered in hope for the hospital staff who have stated that they will allow voluntary walk-ins for the Bharat Biotech-manufactured vaccine so long as names are registered on the Co-Win app which is used to monitor the immunisation programme.