Vaccine mix-up: Probe launched after 20 UP villagers get wrong second dose of jabs

Express News Service
LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh health department’s vaccination staff has done the unimaginable in Siddharthnagar district – by administering a mix of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines to at least 20 villagers at a primary health centre, even as global researchers are yet to study the impact and effectiveness of mixing jabs from different vaccines.

The faux pas happened at Badhni Primary Health Center (PHC) in the East UP district neighbouring Nepal, as 20 residents of Audahi Kalan village, who were given the first dose of Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield vaccine on April 1, 2021 were administered the jabs of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin as their second dose on May 14.

The chief medical officer (CMO) of Siddharthnagar district, Dr Sandeep Chaudhary accepted that it’s a lapse, as there is no guideline from the union government’s ministry of health and family welfare for the use of cocktail of vaccines on a single beneficiary. 

“Both, the first and second dose need to be of the same vaccine. After the lapse came to light, a team of senior doctors conducted an inquiry into the entire matter and based on their report, I sought explanation from all those who were found responsible for the lapse. Based on the explanation given by those found responsible in the enquiry, action will either be taken against them from our end or else we’ll recommend to the higher-ups in the state government for action,” the Siddharthnagar district CMO told The New Indian Express on Wednesday.

“A team of doctors from the district headquarters was also sent to enquire about the health of the villagers who were given first dose of Covishield and second dose of Covaxin. All of them have been found healthy and normal on all important health parameters. We’re keeping a close watch on their health and expect that no health-related problems will happen to them even in future,” Chaudhary said.

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Ram Surat, one of the villagers vaccinated with a cocktail of the vaccines, said, “I got the first jab of Covishield on April 1, but six weeks later on May 14, instead of second dose of Covishield vaccine, the Covaxin jab was given at the PHC. Instead of enquiring about our details of the first dose, the staff at the vaccination center seemed busy in their own things. Till now, I’m fully fit, but also fear that a cocktail of vaccines could cause something wrong in my body in the long run.”

It was Ram Surat only who brought the fact about him and 19 others getting first and second doses of their COVID vaccines mixed up to the notice of the health workers.

Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath government said in an official statement on Wednesday that the pace of vaccination in UP has picked up significantly this month, hitting a daily record of around 2.66 lakh doses in the last 24 hours. 

As per the official data, the state has reported more daily jabs than Maharashtra to become the state doing the highest daily vaccinations in the country. Maharashtra has just delivered 1.93 lakh daily jabs on May 25.

The figures clearly reveal how UP has pushed ahead in providing a safeguard to the maximum number of people against Covid-19, the official statement added. UP has given more than 1.68 crore jabs so far, in which, over 1.34 crore people have been administered the first dose while around 33 lakh people got their second jab. 

Since May 1, when registrations opened for the category of 18-44, around 13.61 lakh youths have so far been able to receive a jab in the state. In the last 24 hours, around 1,47,048 got their first dose administered in this category.