While most Indians are still struggling to get a single jab of the Covid-19 vaccine, some people, specifically healthcare workers, are getting more than they need. Several doctors have reported cases in which people have provided different phone number and IDs to register on CoWin portal and get a different vaccine. After completing both doses of Covishield, they are getting Covaxin jabs now.
“This is pure greed,” says Dr V Ravi, Senior Virologist and Covid Technical Advisory Committee member, Karnataka. “They are snatching vaccines others’ chance of protection from Covid. This is a grave mistake and people shouldn’t be doing this. He adds that we don’t know how the body will react if two separate vaccines mix up inside the body.
Dr Prasanna, President, PHANA (Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association), said situations like these show the flaw in the system. “This situation clearly flags the flaw in the system. If the government agrees to permit only one kind of Photo Id, this problem won’t arise. However, since everyone can’t have only one identification document, the government should develop a solution for this.”
Highlighting the scarcity of vaccines in the country, Dr Prasanna said the jabs are emergency immunization and there is insufficient research or data available on mixing two separate vaccines. “People are becoming guinea pigs by doing all these unnecessary things. They may affect your genes, we don’t know as yet,” he added.
Dr Prasanna has moved a plea before the high court to declare such acts as a criminal offence citing violation of the right to health from others.
Doctors have said there is no evidence to suggest that taking more than the complete doses of vaccines will help anyone develop high immunity against Covid-19. Health officials have warned that a cocktail of these vaccines might act in unpredictable ways and have warned people against making their body into chemical laboratories.
Meanwhile, the incident comes amid increased instances of accidental mixing of vaccines in India and worldwide.
Many are getting the extra Covaxin shot as a “booster” dose for double protection against the virus. Experts have said that such mix-ups cause confusions among those who have taken Covisheild and more rush to queue up to take Covaxin jabs.
Such practices also encourage ways of cheating the CoWin portal and get multiple jabs. After Sputnik V and other vaccines enter the Indian market on a large scale, incidents like these are expected to rise.
For now, everyone needs to be vaccinated at the earliest and any such incidents causing hurdle in the national inoculation drive needs to be sorted at the earliest, stress doctors.