Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo, who had in February this year asked the central government to halt the supply of a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine- Covaxin to the state until its efficacy could be proven has taken his first jab of the same vaccination. The Congress leader took to Twitter on May 11 to share the news.
He wrote that after six weeks of recovering from COVID, he has taken his first shot of Covaxin as instructed by the doctors.
In the personal endeavor of strengthening myself and the state in this fight against pandemic, I received the first dose of COVAXIN after 6 weeks of recovering from COVID, as instructed by doctors.— TS Singh Deo (@TS_SinghDeo) May 11, 2021
I appeal to everyone to get vaccinated and make Chhattisgarh safe again. pic.twitter.com/RmWerAM5Jn
Chhattisgarh Health Minister spreads panic and misinformation on Covaxin
Interestingly, Deo is the same minister who had in the beginning of the year, left no stone unturned to spread misinformation and unnecessary panic by doubting the performance and efficacy of India’s first indigenous COVAXIN developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV).
In the letter to the Union Health Minister dated January 21, 2021, TS Singh Deo, who is one of the senior-most Congress leaders from the state had said that there was an “inhibition among the community” regarding Covaxin, as the vaccine had been given emergency use authorization before the completion of third phase human trials. Deo further claimed that Covaxin vials did not carry expiry dates on them. He had requested the Union health minister to halt the supply of COVAXIN to the state ‘until these issues are addressed to the satisfaction of the state’s Health Department’.
Union Health Minister slams the Congress minister for raising doubts on the efficacy of Covaxin
In response to the Congress minister’s fear-mongering, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had hit out at Deo for spreading vaccine hesitancy at a time when the country was facing fierce challenges dealing with a severe but highly unpredictable threat to the lives of their citizens.
“In such unprecedented times, you should help address any vaccine hesitancy & do what’s in the best interest of people, not further vested interests,” the Union health minister had said in his tweet, referring to Deo.
Vardhan had asserted that both Covaxin and Serum Institute’s Covishield vaccines were “safe and immunogenic” and “should be used expeditiously” to “rapidly confer protection to prioritized beneficiaries”.
Covaxin is India’s first domestically-developed Covid-19 vaccine. It is a two-dose jab that uses an inactivated or “dead” form of the virus. Covaxin was approved for emergency use back in January. Covaxin Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials conducted in 755 participants demonstrated a high safety profile of the candidate vaccine with seroconversion rates of 98.3% and 81.1% on day 56 and 104 respectively.
India’s first home made Covaxin proven to be 81 per cent efficient in interim Phase III trial
The Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research began the phase 3 study of Covaxin in November 2020 across 25 study sites and was conducted on a total of 25,800 participants between 18-98 years of age, including 2,433 over the age of 60 and 4,500 with comorbidities.
Last month, India’s Bharat Biotech finally announced interim Phase III data for its Covid-19 shot, with the vaccine showing 81% efficacy at preventing mild, moderate and severe coronavirus infections and working well against most variants.