Coronavirus | 20 given wrong second COVID-19 vaccine dose in U.P. village

The incident took place during the vaccination drive in a primary health centre in Barhni block in Siddharthnagar district.

Updated - May 26, 2021 10:51 pm IST

Published - May 26, 2021 05:47 pm IST - LUCKNOW

A health worker displays vials of Covaxin at a vaccination centre in Jammu. File

A health worker displays vials of Covaxin at a vaccination centre in Jammu. File

In a major lapse, 20 villagers in the eastern Uttar Pradesh district of Siddharthnagar were administered the Covishield vaccine in their first dose but given a Covaxin shot in the second.

The incident took place during the vaccination drive in a primary health centre in Barhni block.

Ramsurat Varun, a resident of Audahi Kala village, said he received Covishield on April 1. However, he was given a shot of Covaxin on May 14 during his second dose.

“They did not check anything. The ASHA [worker] was standing elsewhere,” he told reporters. Mr. Varun said he is now afraid of possible side-effects.

While 18 persons were from his village, the two others were from another village.

Radhe Shyam Shukla (61), another villager administered the two vaccines, said though he did not face any side-effects he was anxious for many days.

“It is an act of negligence. It should not have happened. But now many days have passed [since May 14], nothing adverse has happened. We appear to be healthy,” he told The Hindu when asked if he would want the administration to monitor him.

A probe is being carried out.

Chief Medical Officer Siddharthnagar Sandeep Chaudhary said a clarification was being sought from officials on the ground after a probe was conducted into the lapse and action would be taken accordingly. “It is a lapse because there is no guideline by the government of India that a cocktail [of vaccines] be administered,” the CMO said.

While he said the 20 people administered the wrong vaccine shots did not face any problems, he was monitoring them.

”They are healthy,” he said.

Scientists at the Oxford Vaccine Group, United Kingdom have been studying if mixing the Pfizer and AstraZeneca doses could confer longer-lasting immunity, better protection against emerging variants or allow hospitals to switch jabs if stocks were scarce.

Though the study is ongoing since February, the BBC this month reported preliminary findings that said one in 10 volunteers given two AstraZeneca jabs four weeks apart reported feverishness. But if they received one AstraZeneca jab and one Pfizer, in any order, the proportion rose to about 34%. The Oxford group, which developed the AstraZeneca vaccine, is also testing combinations of the Moderna and Novavax vaccines.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, sold as Covishield, and Covaxin are made differently. The former contains a piece of the coronavirus DNA wrapped in a kind of virus, that’s known to trigger an infection in chimpanzees but not in people. Covaxin is an inactivated whole virion vaccine. However, their purpose is the same, which is to stimulate the immune system into producing a targeted response that will protect against disease from a future coronavirus infection.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been reported to trigger rare cases of blood clot and lowering of blood platelets in some people, but similar specific associations haven’t been reported in the case of Covaxin, though the number of Covaxin doses administered in India are about 10% of the Covishield jabs. Both vaccines are known to trigger mild side effects in the days immediately following vaccination.

During phase-3 trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the United Kingdom, some participants were accidentally given half the intended dose due to a manufacturing error. This led to differing interpretations of the vaccine’s efficacy, with the subset of those getting differing doses actually appearing to be better protected than those who got two full doses.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said the case was an abominable example of negligence by the BJP government and demanded that the affected persons be monitored by doctors.

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