Nine vaccination centres have been selected to administer Covaxin shots, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, in Maharashtra.
The J J hospital in Mumbai, B J Medical College in Pune as well as government medical colleges in Solapur, Ahmednagar, Nagpur, Kolhapur and Dhule, along with two district hospitals in Pune and Amravati, will administer the shots and monitor each beneficiary.
The six medical colleges and two district hospitals have been chosen because they have an in-house team of experts to handle adverse affects, safety issues and monitor patients closely.
State immunisation officials said that since Covaxin is yet to exhibit data on efficacy, its administration in medical colleges with specialised doctors around will ensure all beneficiaries are well looked after. The second vaccine, Covishield, will be available in 358 vaccination centres.
Dr D N Patil, the state immunisation officer, said a choice will not be offered to healthcare workers to choose between the two available vaccines.
“They will be auto selected through the Co-WIN software and assigned a vaccine centre and date. Only at the time of vaccination, they will be informed which vaccine is being given,” he added.
The state had received 20,000 doses from Bharat Biotech on Wednesday in its Pune-based nodal storage facility. The doses will reach all nine vaccination points by Friday.
“But we will not immediately begin vaccinating healthcare workers with Covaxin. We are still waiting for the Union government to issue guidelines on this vaccine,” said Dr Archana Patil, Director (Family Welfare), Directorate of Health Services.
The Union health ministry has stated that Covaxin will be administered under an “open label trial” — meaning the beneficiary is expected to sign a consent letter, will be aware that he is being administered Covaxin under a trial and be closely monitored just like trial participants. But it is still unclear whether the person will be eligible for compensation in case of severe adverse effects.
Covaxin is undergoing a Phase III human trial with over 25,800 participants in 26 hospital sites in India. While its safety data is ready, its efficacy data from Phase III is yet to be submitted to the Drug Controller General of India.
Patil said they are not aware of the vaccine’s dosage requirement or if consent has to be taken from each person who is administered the vaccine. “Once we get all the guidelines, we will begin training of vaccinators,” she added.