Karnataka: No follow-up on majority of those who got Covaxin | Bengaluru News – Times of India
While the state health department insists follow-up calls were indeed made, recipients in at least four of the six districts — Shivamogga, Chamarajanagar, Hassan, Davanagere, Chikkamagaluru and Ballari — where Covaxin is being administered, said they did not get follow-up calls. Of the six sites, four are medical colleges.
However, no severe adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs) have been reported, although some beneficiaries suffered mild fever, nausea and body pain.
“While district Covid-19 war rooms were tasked with making follow-up calls in the first seven days, the manufacturer and ICMR’s National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research were to follow-up thereafter,” sources said. “There is no clarity yet on how many beneficiaries received calls. Protocol says there should be follow-ups even after the second dose.”
The health department has not revealed the total number of Covaxin beneficiaries or the number of AEFIs.
Dr OH Siddappa, director, Shivamogga Institute of Medical Sciences, a Covaxin recipient, said he received only one call. Another professor from the college said he received none. It was a similar case with students and staff.
In Shivamogga, of 1,069 Covaxin beneficiaries, 12 minor AEFIs were reported. District officials say they followed up with all AEFIs. Dr Rajesh Surgehalli, DHO, Shivamogga, said: “As far as I know, our officials made follow-up calls. It is possible beneficiaries did not pick calls. If there are any glitches, we will look into it.”
In Ballari, of 2,762 healthcare workers registered for vaccination at Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, 1,554 took Covaxin. Dr Gangadhar Gowda, director, VIMS took the vaccine on January
18. “I have not got a single follow-up call,” said Dr Gowda as did a fourth-year student from the college.
Ideally, AEFIs cases during clinical trials of a vaccine must be thoroughly examined, said a Covid task force member. “That can be done only if there is continuous engagement with beneficiaries,” the member said. “Beneficiaries are unlikely to volunteer feedback and crucial data will be missed which is why officials must follow-up.”
Dr BC Ravikumar, director, Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences (HIMS), who received the vaccine, said he got “3-4 follow-up calls” since January 16. Dr GM Sanjeev, dean and director, Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, said all mild AEFIs were reported. “In all, 123 of 320 people have taken Covaxin in our institution. No follow up calls have been made as we are healthcare workers ourselves,” said Dr Sanjeev.
Aware of lapses
Dr PG Girish, director, medical education, said he was aware of the lack of follow-up in medical colleges. “We know that there have been lapses,” said Dr Girish. “It need coordination between colleges and district health authorities.”
Dr Arundhati Chandrashekar, mission director, National Health Mission, Karnataka said directions were given to district reproductive and child health officers (RCH) to make follow-up calls. “We will check,” she said.