Covid vaccination drive to kick off on January 16

Meanwhile, a tribal man has died after getting test dose, family alleges his consent was not taken, nor proof of vaccination given


India is all set to kick off the vaccination drive against Covid-19 on January 16, 2021, the central government notified in a press release on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called it a “red letter day” adding that, “On 16th January, India takes a landmark step forward in fighting Covid-19.” 



According to an official statement issued by the government, the Covid-19 vaccination rollout “will provide priority to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore”. This will be followed by a second batch of around 27 crore people “above 50 years of age” as well as those under-50 years of age who suffer from co-morbidities. 

The government has timed the vaccination drive to start after the forthcoming festivals such as Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, among others. On Saturday, the PM chaired a high-level meeting to review the Covid-19 status in the country, and the preparedness of the State/UTs for the drive. According to the statement the “Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety & immunogenicity.”

The statement added that there will be “no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, other SOPs,” and that over 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members have been trained so far. The third dry run was conducted on Friday,  across 615 districts covering 4,895 session sites in 33 States/UTs.

However, there has also been news that a man has died in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh allegedly days after participating in Covid-19 vaccine trial. According to a news report in the Hindustan Times, Deepak Marawi, the 42-year-old volunteer who died had participated in the clinical trial for Covaxin held at a private hospital. Madhya Pradesh Medico Legal Institute Director Dr Ashok Sharma was quoted in the news report saying that a doctor who had performed postmortem examination suspects that the man died of poisoning. “After Marawi’s death on December 21, we informed the Drug Controller General of India and Bharat Biotech, which is the producer and sponsor of the trial,” said Dr Rajesh Kapur, Vice Chancellor, People’s Medical College and Hospital where the trial was conducted.

According to the news report Marawi, is a tribal, and was working as a labourer. His family has  claimed that Marawi and his colleague were administered the Covaxin injection on December 12 during the trial. They told the media that he returned home and “felt uneasy” He also “complained of a shoulder pain on December 17. Two days later, he spewed foam. He refused to see a doctor saying he would be alright in a day or two. When his condition deteriorated, he was being rushed to hospital but he died midway (on December 21),” they added. Bhopal-based social activist, Rachana Dhingra, has alleged that Marawi’s consent was not taken for participation in the clinical trial, and he was not given any proof of his participation in the vaccination exercise. This has been stated by his family as well, who added that he was a healthy man before he got the injection. “The vaccine poisoned him,” said his wife.

Meanwhile, this is the Covid-19 status in India:


Covid vaccine trials in Bhopal without participants’ informed consent?
Battling Covid: New vaccines, new concerns
After trial Covaxin shot, Haryana health minister Anil Vij test Covid-19 positive
COVISHIELD vaccine trial participant sues Serum Institute 



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