CHENNAI: Doctor Manoj Murhekar, director and scientist at the National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), was among the recipients of indigenously-developed Covaxin at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) Covid- 19 vaccination centre. He received the vaccine along with Dr E Theranirajan, dean, RGGGH, and other healthcare providers.
A total of 78 healthcare providers were administered the vaccine at the institute, and of them, 40 took Covishield and 38 took Covaxin. Dr Sudha Seshayyan, vice chancellor, Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, was among the eminent doctors who received the Covishield vaccine at the centre on Saturday. R ecipients of Covaxin filled up a consent form before taking the jab.
The Central government granted emergency-use approval for the vaccine, for which Phase 3 trials are still underway to establish the efficacy of the vaccine. Speaking to Express, Dr Manoj Murhekar said, “Phase 2 trials of Covaxin showed it produces good antibodies. The T-cell response is also good. The Drugs Controller General of India gave approval only after studying these data. Only Phase 3 trials — to know the efficacy — are pending, and will be out in a few weeks.
Covaxin has been developed from the killed virus and is safe.” “Covishield is good too. But we want to tell people that Covaxin is also safe,” he added, and further said there was no pressure from anyone to choose Covaxin. Meanwhile, Dr N Gopalakrishnan, director, Institute of Nephrology, RGGGH, said everyone should not choose to receive the same vaccine, so that more people will be able to get inoculated. “I chose the vaccine as the ones developed from the killed virus will have fewer side effects.
We also want to dispel myths that vaccines are not safe. While taking vaccines people should also think about the availability of vaccines and decide accordingly so more people will benefit,” said Gopalakrishnan. Dr Theranirajan, who also took Covaxin, said he did so to reduce the hesitancy to take Covaxin. “After I took it, a few directors of various departments in the hospital also took the vaccine,” he said. T he RGGGH has two Covid-19 vaccination centres — one for Covishield and one for Covaxin. Lab technicians, nurses and doctors were among the recipients of Covaxin at the centre.