Here we go again. In yet another disclaimer Bharat Biotech the manufactures of Covaxin, have come out with a fact sheet about who should avoid taking the Covaxin shot.
According to this newly published factsheet, three days after India started mass inoculation against Covid -19. The factsheet, which is posted on the Bharat Biotech’s website, states that the vaccine is not advisable for people with certain types of allergies, fever or bleeding disorder, weaker immune system, or any other kind of medication that affects their immune system.
It also states that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking the shot.
India is currently in the midst of the biggest vaccination drive in the world and has introduced two vaccines that are produced indigenously – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India (SII) Covishield.
India has authorized the use of both for emergency purposes, but now it seems to be a full-fledged vaccination drive for those “Individuals who are prioritized under the public health program of the ministry of health and family welfare.”
It also states that those offered Covaxin at pre-specified booths will have the option to receive or reject administration of the vaccine.
It should be noted that Covaxin is still under Stage – 3 of the Clinical trials and also weighed huge debate on the efficacy of the vaccines quite recently.
Individual members from both the scientific community and medical personnel had questioned why there is no information or data available or released on the public domain about the efficacy of the vaccine.
Incidentally, both Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India have released factsheets that indicate who the people who should avoid getting the vaccination are.
The Big Question – if those who are eligible for the vaccines require a prerequisite of being a healthy individual, then why would they need a vaccine in the first place?
The reasoning behind this questioning is straightforward, the ones’ who are healthy and do not have their immune system compromised, for them to get the vaccine does not mean much sense.
The body already has the capacity to ward off the virus; as has been seen in many people who have either recuperated from the Covid -19 infection, i.e., the body had a robust immune system that was strong enough to win the battle against the virus.
Or those who might have been in close proximity of people with infections but never displayed any signs of getting the virus themselves, in which case it again shows that either the immune system was strong enough to resist the infection or the body was able to adapt to the virus and have no ill effect which the scientist term as ‘herd immunity,’ in this case it could be termed as ‘individual immunity.’
If such a population has already survived the risk of infection – why vaccinate them?
On the other hand, those who have suppressed immunity, i.e., immunity that is not strong enough for the body to fight the infection – should be the ones who need the vaccine the most such that the body can increase its immunity levels and fight the infection.
While one understands the advisory issued for pregnant women and those who might be breastfeeding since clinical trials would not have been done on such subjects and no data would be available to understand what effect it might have on the unborn child or babies.
One can also understand those who might be suffering from diseases such as cancer, AIDS, or any other ailment for which no clinical trial has been done. Hence, no factual data about the effect the vaccine might have on those suffering from such medical conditions is available.
However, going back to the above question – if only healthy people should get vaccinated, then it defeats the purpose of the vaccine in the first place.
Case of two people who died after receiving the Covid -19 vaccine in India
At least two reported cases of deaths of individuals who received the Covid -19 vaccine have come up so far. One is a 52-year-old male from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, and another of a male person aged 43 years from Bellary, Karnataka.
While one died after one day of taking the vaccine, the other died two days from taking the vaccine.
In both cases, the Government, Manohar Agnani, additional secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in the first case (52 year, UP), died due to cardiopulmonary disease, as per the postmortem.
In the second case (43 years, Karnataka) died due to anterior wall infarction with cardiopulmonary failure, the post mortem of the second individual was yet to be done.
As per reports, at least 580 persons have reported Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), with the majority reporting symptoms of fever, headache, and nausea.
Point to be noted these symptoms have already been highlighted by both Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India as “what to expect,” which is a common occurrence when most vaccines are administered.
India sends shipments of vaccines to neighboring countries
In the meantime, India has sent shipments or plan to send shipments of the vaccines to neighboring countries such as Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and others as India’s initiative to fight the Covid -19 pandemic at a global level.
Again the point to be noted here is that we are still at Stage three of clinical trials and the efficacy of the vaccine is still a question mark.
Meanwhile, according to reports, Pfizer has also applied for an emergency use authorization in India, alongside SII (Civishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin).
It seems that the race for the vaccine has now given way to the race for the part of the world where these vaccine manufacturing pharmaceutical companies can gain market access and market share for the vaccines developed, respectively.
The point of concern and giving the world a solution to the dreaded Covid -19 has now shifted to getting authorizations and licenses to administer the vaccines.
Is it profitability and striking the iron when it’s hot option or saving the population sentiment – which sentiment rules – is yet to be seen and understood?