Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers must end: Govt

Vaccine hesitancy amongst healthcare workers must end, medical expert and Niti Aayog member Dr V.K. Paul said on Tuesday, amidst heightened concerns over adverse events following immunisation and incomplete clinical trial data of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

A total of 6.31 lakh people have been inoculated so far since the commencement of the vaccination drive on January 16. About 580 adverse events have been reported so far, out of which seven required hospitalisations. Two people died in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka following vaccination, but their deaths are not related to the vaccine.

“Vaccine hesitancy in health care workers must end. How will we fight the pndemic? Vaccine hesitancy must be extinguished before the pandemic extinguishes us,” said Dr. Paul at a press conference.

He said that serious problems related to the vaccine have been found to be negligible, unfounded, and insignificant. “We would like to assure you that these vaccines are safe and do not excite any undue reactogenicity and are being accepted increasingly.”

The rollout of Oxford’s Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin began four days ago in the country amidst apprehensions about the safety of the latter.

Covaxin is currently undergoing late-stage clinical trials, which are crucial to determining the efficacy of the shot.

It has been in the spotlight of controversy ever since it received the green signal from the drug regulator for restricted emergency use.

The approval without adequate efficacy data drew flak from public health advocacy groups, researchers, scientists, and activists.

“The world is clamouring for the vaccine. Here, In India, the country made the vaccine, got them to the doorstep, and still if the healthcare workers are not taking it, it is saddening. I would request them to accept it. In the few days, we aim to vaccinate the healthcare workers and start the non-Covid facilities,” Paul said.