Tamil Nadu

Vaccinate, but insist on Covishield, TNGDA tells doctors

Health workers prepare to carry boxes of Covishield vaccine to a cold storage unit from a vehicle at the Regional Vaccine Storage centre in Chennai on January 12, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association (TNGDA) has recommended to doctors to get the COVID-19 vaccination, and insist on the Covishield vaccine till the phase-3 results of Covaxin are out.

The COVID-19 vaccination is all set to be rolled out January 16 with healthcare providers to be covered in the first phase. The State received 5,36,500 doses of Covishield and 20,000 doses of Covaxin. As of now, 4.39 lakh healthcare professionals/workers have been registered.


However, as some doctors expressed concerns over the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and expressed an unwillingness to vaccine, the TNGDA sought the opinion of three independent specialists on the safety, efficacy and choice of vaccines offered and issued an advisory for its members. The summary of recommendations of the three specialists were submitted before the State Executive Committee of the TNGDA on January 14. The recommendations were discussed and were adopted by the association.

K. Senthil, president of TNGDA said, the office-bearers of the association would take the vaccine on the first day. “We have asked the government to give priority to healthcare providers in the government sector, and to administer the Covishield vaccine,” he said.

As per the recommendations of the specialists, all doctors and healthcare providers are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 in the daily routine of treating patients and all doctors were advised to take the vaccine permitted for emergency use except those with contraindication.

In a specific recommendation on the choice of vaccine, the specialists said that all practising doctors can go for vaccination and insist on Covishield till the phase-3 results of Covaxin are out.

Considering the two vaccines -- Covishield and Covaxin -- the specialists recommended that as on date, the vector-based Covishield has been in use for 40 to 60 days with no serious side effects, with good immunogenicity. The live attenuated method using SARS-CoV-2 virus in Covaxin was yet to be used anywhere in the world. So, it was better to opt for Covishield as on date but keeping in mind that Covaxin may be preferred at a later date if the phase 3 results were better.

Noting that vaccines have saved humankind for decades, the experts said that the world has used all its resources to come out with vaccines early but with the highest safety profile and decent immunogenicity. “The vaccines available are rewards of science, commitment and necessity. Let us be wiser and utilise the rewards”.

It recommended that doctors of all specialities and general practitioners could take the vaccine -- those working in COVID-19 wards, physicians, pulmonologists, otolaryngologists, anaesthetists and other specialists in clinical work, specialists involved in COVID-19 laboratories and all other doctors in that order.

For those ailing or recovered from COVID-19, the specialists said they could wait till recovery from the illness and take the vaccine 30 to 45 days after testing positive for the virus, or having recovered completely from any serious COVID-19 sequelae.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:40:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vaccinate-but-insist-on-covishield-tngda-tells-doctors/article33577997.ece

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