Chandigarh, Sep 22 (PTI) The Punjab government on Tuesday said three government medical colleges of the state would participate in the phase 3 trials of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' being tested by Bharat Biotech Ltd in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The trials are scheduled to commence from October 15, said a government statement here.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who chaired a COVID review meeting here, directed the Medical Education & Research Department to ensure full care and strict adherence to all precautions during the trials with mandatory consent of the participants.
He also issued stern directions to ensure that poor persons were not pulled into trials without consent, knowledge and understanding of the possible repercussions and dangers.
Bharat Biotech, which had approached the state government a few days ago, has announced a Rs 75 lakh insurance cover for the participants in case of any permanent adverse effect or death.
The possible side effects of the vaccine could be fever, pain at the site of the intramuscular injection and malaise.
Two doses of the inactivated virus injection would be given to the participants within days as part of phase 3 human trials, as per the government statement.
Chief Minister Singh, meanwhile, said he would raise the issue of augmentation of Oxygen supplies from other states with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a virtual conference on Wednesday.
He said he would urge the PM to issue necessary directions to Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, which are currently Punjab's main source of medical oxygen supply.
“We need to ensure that there are enough supplies in Punjab to save lives,” the CM said amid reports of 14 per cent death rate in the three government medical colleges of Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot, which are engaged in providing tertiary care to COVID patients.
He asked various departments to work towards bringing the death rate in these GMCs to below 10 per cent at the earliest.
The ICU occupancy in these GMCs is currently at 212 out of the total availability of 283, the CM was informed.
He was informed by Medical Education Secretary D K Tiwari that while there was no shortage of Oxygen in the state at present, if occupancy goes up to 100 per cent, more supplies would be needed.
Though the case fatality rate (CFR), currently at 2.89 per cent, has been progressively coming down, it is still higher than the national average, with 13 districts reporting the highest figures, said the statement.
The CM expressed satisfaction at increased testing in rural areas with many village panchayats passing formal resolutions in support of the government efforts.
Earlier, Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta informed that 5,300 (40 per cent) of the state's panchayats had passed formal resolutions backing COVID testing, as a result of which the initial resistance showed by the public due to widespread disinformation campaigns had eased off.
Giving details of the number of police personnel impacted by the disease, DGP Gupta said of the 86 cops who had died due to the infection, 18 had been reported in September, with eight currently on ventilators.
A total of 1,233 cops had tested COVID positive so far, he added.
The CM also launched the corona kits comprising items including pulse oximeter, digital thermometer, essential medicines etc for COVID patients in isolation, whether at home or in hospitals. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX