New Delhi, Jan 24 : After the Lancet study, the raging controversy over the efficacy of Covaxin, India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, should not exist and the fear associated with the vaccination drive should also be put to rest, said Subhasis Panda, Deputy Director (administration), AIIMS, here.
Panda, currently on central deputation, is the first civil services officer to receive the Covaxin jab at AIIMS on Sunday, where he has been working for three years.
He is an IAS officer of the 1997 batch from Himachal Pradesh cadre and served as the Joint Secretary to the government in the Department of Food Civil Supplies.
According to reports, reputed medical journal the Lancet Infectious Diseases on Friday said Covaxin produced tolerable safety outcomes and enhanced immune responses in Phase 1 trials.
Speaking to IANS on this Lancet study, Panda said: “India has developed a safe vaccine. In the backdrop of the Lancet study on Covaxin, the data, statistics and the process of validation has also been approved. Covaxin getting thumbs-up from Lancet is a huge validation.”
He added now people should shun apprehensions associated with the vaccination drive.
“Please go get the jab”, said Panda.
The frontline workers got inoculated in the first phase.
Even though one million doses have been administered, since the beginning of vaccination drive on January 16, concerns over Covid-19 vaccines have not settled yet.
The government is also fighting barrage of misinformation, which is causing vaccine hesitation, and despite many reassurances, many are far from being convinced.
Panda said: “There is a phenomenon called vaccine hesitancy, it was there when we initiated the polio vaccination drive and over the time it disappeared. I took the jab today and I am feeling absolutely fine.”
Citing the Lancet study, he reiterated that Covid-19 vaccines are safe, and more and more people should volunteer to take the jab.
When queried on the challenges especially for vaccination of senior citizen and how soon could it begin, Panda replied, “It is not a challenge, instead it is an issue and strategies have been put in place address this. People over 50 are vulnerable and they will not be kept waiting, in fact there will be concurrent roll out of vaccine for them.”
He added that government has planned much ahead and vaccinating different age group will not be a challenge and polices have strategized to make the availability of vaccines in the remotest part of the country. Panda reiterated that people should shun the hesitation associated with safety of the vaccines.
Recalling his experience at AIIMS amid the pandemic, he added it was a challenging task amid the raging pandemic, as the numbers of cases were increasing rapidly, to ensure infrastructural needs are met to address every patient at the institute. Panda said, “people must appreciate that we have developed an indigenous vaccine.”
(Sumit saxena can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)