Health workers, IMA confident about Covishield vaccine

[Amar Sangno]

ITANAGAR, 14 Jan: As the state’s health department gears up for the Covishield Covid-19 vaccination drive on 16 January, the health care workers say that they are “confident of the efficacy of the vaccine.”

Covishield is the Serum Institute of India’s Coronavirus vaccine and it has been dispatched from Pune on Monday to different parts of the country.

The state’s health department received its first consignment of 32,000 vaccine doses from the union government on Thursday at Guwahati, Assam.

The consignment will further be distributed and dispatched to designated vaccination centres in Namsai, Pasighat, Tawang, TRIHMS Naharlagun and Yingkiong.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu has – through his social media handle – thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending the first consignment of the vaccine.

After reports of lack of trials that has been widely reported in the media, there was a cloud of wariness on whether or not the health care workers would come forward to receive the vaccine.

“I am okay now, but yes, I was a little nervous because one of my friends working in California (USA) got sick after he got vaccinated,” said a health care worker on condition of anonymity.

The worker will be among the first to receive the vaccine in the state.

Another health worker quipped, “Go for it if you do not have needle phobia.”

Ending the speculation, Indian Medical Association (IMA) Arunachal branch president, Dr Lobsang Tsetim said, “We believe in scientists who developed the vaccines. It’s our moral duty to infuse confidence in the general public about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.”

The doctor said that there are many negative campaigns going on against the Covid vaccine.

“We should all be thankful to the scientists and doctors who have spent sleepless nights and come up with the Covid vaccine in such a short time amidst overwhelming pandemic,” he said.

“We request all doctors and other health care workers who have registered for the Covid vaccine to come for vaccination on the given dates and allay the fears and misconceptions that general public have about the efficacy of the vaccine,” Dr Lobsang added.

Health and Family Welfare Secretary P Parthiban has played down the speculation that health care workers were wary of being the first recipients of the vaccine.

On the preparation and storage facility of Covishield vaccines, the health secretary said, “We have enough storage space and experience in handling and storing vaccines. At present, we have 195 cold chain points where we can store more than three lakh vaccines at a time.”

It is said that more than 23,000 health care workers are eligible to receive vaccine in the first phase, followed by other front line workers, including the police, para military forces and sanitary workers.