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Covaxin or Covishield: Lack of choice becomes controversial

Saturday, January 16, 2021 • Telugu Comments

The vaccination process has begun today (January 16) in earnest in the country. Frontline workers have started to be inoculated with either Covishield or Covaxin. If the former is an SII vaccine against coronavirus, the latter is a Bharat Biotech product.

The government has mandated informed consent for those who are taking Covaxin. As per the rule, anybody being given Covaxin has to sign a consent form mandatorily. However, if he or she refuses to do so, the vaccine is not given. And, he or she can't have access to Covishield alternatively. In short, there is no choice.

This particular provision of not giving the people a choice has become controversial. Critics are saying that it's wrong to not give people a choice. If someone wants to postpone their vaccination and wait for Covishield to be accessed on a future date, nothing should stop them. This is the line of argument being made by Netizens.

Says Anant Bhan, a Bioethics researcher, "There is going to be no choice. You will only be able to receive one of the two, whatever is allotted to you by the government. While you have an option of opt-out, it will put potential vaccinees in a tough situation. You have to decide for yourselves based on publicly available (or the lack of it) information-- on safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy on both vaccines."

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