C'garh govt plans to allow use of Covaxin in state: Minister

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Raipur, Mar 14 (PTI) The Chhattisgarh government is considering allowing the use of Covaxin, a vaccine against COVID-19, in the state after the Centre dropped its 'clinical trial mode' tag, state Health Minister T S Singh Deo said on Sunday.

In January, Singh Deo had requested Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to halt the supply of Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, to the state until its phase-3 trials are completed and results are made available.

The Serum Institute of India (SII)-made vaccine Covishield is being used in the state as part of the vaccination drive.

Talking to PTI, Singh Deo said, 'We are considering allowing Covaxin for those who wish to opt for it after the Government of India dropped the vaccine from clinical trial mode, even though the complete data of its third phase of trials is yet to be published.' The data (of phase-2 trials) of Covaxin published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal has indicated that its safety is not in question so now the only question pending is about its efficacy, he said.

However, when the Centre has removed the vaccine from clinical trial method, then there are many people who are willing to take it...so that is the issue, he said.

'The sole point I had been trying to make was that we must complete the procedure. This is an emergency situation so that is why vaccines, which were (generally) made in 10 to 15 years, were prepared in 10 months.

'But even in those 10 months, the procedure which other companies have completed...every company should complete before it is allowed to use the vaccine. Otherwise what is the point of phases-based trials,' the minister said.

'We are proud of our indigenous vaccine, but strictly believe that due process as per international norms needed to be adhered before bringing it into general use. Our primary concern is well-being of our citizens and only implement any vaccine once its efficacy is proven,' he said.

Singh Deo, who is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 last week, said that as he had stated earlier, he will take Covaxin after recovering from the infection.

Covaxin will initially be allowed to use only in medical colleges and district hospital premises in separate facility, he added. PTI TKP NP NP