India launches vaccine drive amid growing skepticism

Narendra Modi has launched one of the world’s most ambitious vaccination drives amid growing skepticism about vaccines for the controversial approval of indigenous jabs.

The Prime Minister of India launched a campaign on Saturday with an emotional live speech, stating that “the country is desperately waiting for this moment” and warned against “mispromotion” of vaccine safety.

India, a country of 1.4 billion people, has the second highest number of coronavirus infections in the world at 10.5 m. Successful inoculation programs are essential because blockades have limited effectiveness in controlling the spread of the virus and contact tracing fails. The first phase of vaccination deployment will target 30 million healthcare workers and frontline workers with the goal of inoculating 300 million people by July.

The results of the drive will determine whether India can inject confidence into an economy that is struggling to recover following one of the world’s most serious and devastating blockades. After a severe recession, growth has been sluggish and millions of Indians are in poverty.

At Max Healthcare Hospital in Saket, near New Delhi, a 42-year-old emergency department nurse scrubbing mint green said, “I was delighted to be shot first. This is ours. It will change your life. “

However, before the release of Phase 3 study data, the approval of Covaxin in New Delhi, a vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, was criticized by healthcare experts and skeptical of the vaccine. I was stimulated. According to a survey by pollster Local Circles this month, 69% of respondents were hesitant to get jabs.

“I don’t think it’s possible to develop a vaccine in a year,” said 45-year-old Ravi Agarwal, who runs a small kiosk that sells tobacco and sweets in New Delhi. “My son has a hematologic disease. If they ask me to inoculate him, I would be very worried.”

As with the Russian and Chinese vaccines, covaxin was rapidly followed without completing Phase 3 trials, with little data on efficacy. Experts argue that growing suspicion surrounding vaccines developed in collaboration with the Government of India risks undermining the impetus for vaccination.

Some states are already against it. For example, the Chhattisgarh Minister of Health refuses to accept covacin until the Phase 3 trial is complete.

“What Indian regulators have done has brought us down to Russian and Chinese levels,” said Dinesh Thakur, an executive at a former Indian pharmaceutical company currently working as a public health activist in the United States. ..

Kolkata health care workers are vaccinated. India has the highest number of coronavirus cases after the United States © REUTERS

“India has never had an anti-vax movement,” he said. “The country has overcome polio and smallpox. People are obedient. But this dubious process has spawned anti-vaccers.”

Civil society activists claim that Bharat Biotech did not follow appropriate guidelines at the Phase 3 study site in the city of Bhopal in central Madhya Pradesh, where trial volunteers died in December.

Jitendra Narwaria, a 37-year-old sawmill worker, was fired in December. “They said they were offered free medicine to cure our cough and colds,” said Naruwaria, who received Rs750 ($ 10) for taking jabs.

Like the other subjects, Naruwaria said she suffered from side effects. “A few days later I started vomiting, and I felt very weak. I went back to the hospital, but no one listened to me and just went home,” he said. Told.

“We weren’t given the full information. If they told us it was for Corona, I would say no.”

Bharat Biotech states that it conducts clinical trials “according to research protocols” and “always focuses on patient safety.” According to the company, the December death was unrelated to the trial.

Krishnaela, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, has rejected criticism of the vaccine. In an interview with India Today TV this week, Ella said she could vaccinate her 6-year-old grandson even if the jab wasn’t yet approved for children.

Aside from domestic controversy, Modi welcomed the vaccine as a victory for Indian science and his self-reliant “Make in India” policy. His government is also leveraging the country’s vast manufacturing capacity to supply shots to developing countries.

On Tuesday, Bharat Biotech announced that it had signed a contract to supply vaccines to the Brazilian pharmaceutical company Precision Medicamentos. The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has signed a contract with Gavi, a UN-backed vaccine alliance, to provide 200 million doses of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.

In New Delhi, healthcare professionals were reassured to welcome the vaccine. At Max Healthcare Hospital, staff recovered from a wave of the city’s third and worst coronavirus cases in November, after the festival season. Authorities warn of complacency, despite the number of active proceedings in the metropolitan area dropping from more than 40,000 at its peak to less than 3,000.

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“The only end of the pandemic is masks and vaccination,” said Dr. Sandeep Budhiraja, group medical director at the hospital.

“Delhi is probably not the worst, but there is no way to get rid of the next wave. See what’s happening in the UK. It can happen anywhere in the world.”

India launches vaccine drive amid growing skepticism

Source link India launches vaccine drive amid growing skepticism

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