Bengaluru, Dec 2 (IAryavarth) Karnataka is all set to distribute vaccine to the people across the southern state when certified and made available, said state Health Minister K. Sudhakar after the Covaxin phase-3 clinical trials of Bharat Biotech’s vaccine begin at Vydehi hospital here on Wednesday.
“We are well prepared to distribute the vaccine to people across the state when ready after validation and certification. As decided recently, the vaccine will be given first to our healthcare warriors, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and frontline workers who have been treating Covid patients since mid-March when the pandemic broke out in the state,” said Sudhakar on the occasion.
Karnataka is among the dozen states across the country where the clinical trials are being conducted on 26,000 people in 25 state-run and private hospitals to test the efficacy of Covaxin, developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Ltd as a preventive and curative medicine against the deadly virus.
“About 16,000-18,000 people will be administered two doses each of the Covid vaccine during this month and monitored daily to ensure their safe health and welfare,” said Sudhakar, a doctor by profession.
The state health department has identified 29,451 distribution centres with 2,855 cold storage facility across the state and is training 10,008 personnel to administer the vaccine to people on priority with senior citizens and comorbid patients getting preference over others.
On side-effects of the vaccine candidates, the minister said though there could be some of them, there was no need for panic or cause for concern at this stage.
The Central government has allocated Rs 900 crore for Covid vaccine research in state-run and private labs across the country. Besides Bharat Biotech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 28 visited Zydus Cadila at Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Serum Institute of India at Pune in Maharashtra for a first-hand assessment of the vaccine development, its production and distribution.
“Our state has earmarked Rs 300 crore for vaccine trials. We are already giving free treatment to Covid patients, including testing. We are conducting 1.25-lakh tests daily. Till date, 1.2 crore people have been tested free since March across the state,” Sudhakar reiterated.
The India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) of the Union Health Ministry has permitted Vydehi Medical Sciences and Research Institute in the city’s eastern suburb to conduct the phase-3 trials of Covaxin on about 1,000 volunteers, who will be administered two doses of the vaccine.
“The volunteers are above 18 years in age and tested negative or asymptomatic. The state-run Drugs Controller General of India will analyse the data from the trials. The vaccine will be produced in large numbers after it receives the required efficacy level,” a Vydehi doctor told IANS.
Sudhakar said the trial results would give the efficacy level of the vaccine in January so that it can be produced in large quantities for inoculating as many people in the coming months.