NEW DELHI: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has raised the issue of vaccine safety at the chief ministers’ meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Covid vaccine rollout.
Echoing the views of Opposition-ruled states that have questioned the emergency use authorisation given to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin without phase-III trials being completed, Banerjee pointed out that doubts had been expressed about the vaccines as the efficacy data had not been put out in public domain.
The chief minister wondered whether “adequate scientific confirmation was available in support of both the vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) that are now being offered by the government of India”. She noted that the states had been left with no option to choose or procure between the two vaccines and the Centre had made a “specific decision in favour of both the vaccines”.
In a statement issued by her office, the government said she argued that “adequate scientific opinions should be obtained before confirming the safety and efficacy of both the vaccines”. She also sought clarifications on the side-effects.
According to well-placed sources, Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul, who also heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC), clarified to the chief minister that India’s vaccines were absolutely safe.
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