Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 16
Ahead of the COVID-19 vaccination drive starting tomorrow, leading international neurologist and outgoing head of neurology at AIIMS, New Delhi, MV Padma Srivastava called upon healthcare and frontline workers to get vaccinated in large numbers when their turn comes.
Director designate at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Bangalore, Srivastava was the first from AIIMS, New Delhi, to volunteer for phase 3 COVAXIN trials which are about to be concluded.
“I have completed my two doses under phase 3 trials. It has been over 14 days since I got the second dose. I am fit and fine,” she told The Tribune, seeking to settle the controversy around the safety of indigenously made COVAXIN which is part of the national rollout plan.
Srivastava said everyone, particularly healthcare workers, “needed to have healthy respect for COVID-19 and get protected with the two nationally approved choices”.
“COVID-19 continues to be unpredictable. There is no typecasting the disease. We cannot take it for granted. I will continue to have a very healthy respect for COVID 19 rather than say I know everything about it. I hope everyone else will do the same and get vaccinated. Both vaccines approved in India are safe. No regulator will approve a product without taking safety into account. We must believe the system. I am an Indian and I believe the scientific rigour of my system,” Srivastava said.
She said she volunteered for COVAXIN trials because the onus of inspiring public confidence in the indigenous vaccine was primarily on the scientific community.
“A big percentage of COVAXIN trial participants are scientific people. The scientific community had to volunteer to give optimism to society about the safety of COVAXIN. I am here before you having taken both my doses. I am safe and sound,” she said, adding that none of the COVID vaccines being used anywhere in the world had received general licensures yet.
All vaccines had only received emergency use authorisations and all continue to be under further trials for additional data, she said.