The Ugly politics of vaccination
Mother India must be certainly weeping at the ugly state of affairs of the country and more so over the sons and daughters she produces. While it should have been a cause of rejoicing over the success of Corona virus vaccination, the country has been pushed to ugly fight over the same. Thanks to leaders from the opposition parties the moment of taking a deep breadth of relief has now been replaced by a sigh of deep frustration and anguish. For no other country have such political environment that cuts her own victories to doomsday.
The drugs regulatory authority gave the green light to the jabs developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University and by local firm Bharat Biotech. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is being manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. The jab, which is known as Covishield in India, is administered in two doses given between four and 12 weeks apart. It can be safely stored at temperatures of 2C to 8C, about the same as a domestic fridge, and can be delivered in existing health care settings such as doctors’ surgeries, as against Pfizers -70 degree requirement for storage.
The other drug manufactured by Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is also prounounced “safe and a robust immune response” by drugs controller of India. The Drugs Controller General, V.G. Somani, said it had been approved “in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, to have more options for vaccinations, especially in case of infection by mutant strains”. Besides these two there are many other vaccines being developed – see https://vaccine.icmr.org.in/covid-19-vaccine.
Bharat Biotech Chairman Krishna Ella said that it is unfair to accuse the company of inexperience as it is a global entity with experience in manufacturing vaccines in emergency situations when efficacy data is not available. “It is not correct to say that we are not transparent with data. We have manufactured more than 16 vaccines and we don’t deserve this backlash., he added.
The Bharat Biotech chief said in his defence that all the company’s vaccine samples have been validated by NIV Pune, and the process is fully transparent. “Have published five articles on the vaccine. We are in no way inferior to Pfizer when it comes to publications, as it has zero publications. Safety data for Covaxin shows less than 10 percent side effects in trials.”
Many countries have come forward to request Indian vaccine. Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa said it had approved the import of 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
Meanwhile a 80 year old man became the first person to administered the oxford/astrazeneca Jab in UK. He is also clinically vulnerable as he gets on dialysis thrice a week.
Looking at the response and the expertise of Indian pharma industry it is clear that there has been a concerted effort to defame the Indian corona Vaccine and to create doubt in the minds of citizens against Modi government. Then there are lobbies by many countries who are trying to push their own developed vaccine and devalue others. There is also corporate level fight involved in cuh mass vaccination programs and one never knows who is sleeping with whom. Therefore it was not totally surprising to see some of the Indian politicians as well as doctors coming out to blame the Indian vaccine. The citizens of the country must unite and impose total faith in our own scientific and research organizations. That is th eonly way to answer the critics of the vaccination and ofcourse enemies of Indian Swabhiman.
Dr Asheesh Shah