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Resident Doctors at RML Hospital Want Covishield, Not Covaxin Shots Due to 'Lack of Complete Trial'

Representative image of Covaxin and Covishield vaccines.

Representative image of Covaxin and Covishield vaccines.

Covaxin, the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, is still undergoing stage-III trials. India approved the vaccine for emergency use on January 3 but the nod has come under criticism for lack of efficacy data, typically obtained from a large, Phase III human trial -- which the manufacturer is still conducting.

Resident doctors at one of Delhi's Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Saturday said they wanted to be administered the Serum Institute's Covishield vaccine, instead of being given the Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine due to "apprehensions over lack of complete trial".

Covaxin, the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, is still undergoing stage-III trials. India approved the vaccine for emergency use on January 3 but the nod has come under criticism for lack of efficacy data, typically obtained from a large, Phase III human trial -- which the manufacturer is still conducting.

"Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech is being preferred over Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute in our hospital. We would like to bring to your notice that the residents are a bit apprehensive about the lack of complete trial in the case of Covaxin and might not participate in huge numbers thus defeating the purpose of the vaccination," the Resident Doctors Association of the hospital said in a a letter to the medical superintendent of the facility.

(The letter procured by News18)

"We request you to vaccinate us with Covishield which has completed all stages of the trial before its rollout," the letter said.

The regulatory panel reportedly approved the shot just one day after asking the vaccine maker for more evidence it would work. Early clinical studies showed that the vaccine doesn’t have any serious side effects and produces antibodies for Covid-19.

But late clinical trials began in mid-November. The second shot was to be given 28 days after the first, and an immune response prompted two weeks later. That time frame means that it isn't possible that the company submitted data showing that the shots are effective in preventing infection from the virus, say experts. Drugs Controller General of India Dr. Venugopal G Somani has said that "the vaccine has been found to be safe". The health ministry said that permission was granted for Bharat Biotech’s shot for restricted use in the “public interest as an abundant precaution in clinical trial mode, especially in the context of infection by mutant strains.”

first published:January 16, 2021, 13:51 IST
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