Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which is currently under Phase 3 trials, has been administered to over 100 eminent personalities, according to an administrator connected to the trials being conducted at the Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre (VIMSRC) in Bengaluru.
Chaitanya Adikesavalu of Clintrac International Private Limited, a research company monitoring the clinical trials, told the media on Saturday that 14 ministers plus an unspecified number of IPS officers in Karnataka had been vaccinated.
Dr Rajesh Naidu, Managing Director of Clintrac, confirmed to DH that ministers had been vaccinated, but also clarified that homemakers, labourers, students, IT professionals, and others had received the shot.
“The Covaxin trial is India-wide and we need a large number of people to get involved,” Dr Naidu said, adding 800 people had registered to participate in the Vydehi trials, including several from outside the state.
Several insiders declined to comment on the ministers and IPS officers being administered the vaccine.
Dr K M Srinivas Murthy, Director of VIMSRC, said that the trial is anonymised, which means that Vydehi does not have access to the volunteer list.
“That information is held by ICMR. We do not know details about who is coming to be vaccinated,” he said.
Shortage of volunteers
Dr Naidu said the trial run seeks a total of 26,000 volunteers across 25 sites, as per a requirement set out by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The trial’s first dose of Phase III trials was administered on Dec 1 and the second one will be given on Dec 30.
However, the trial run in Bengaluru has faced a serious shortage of volunteers.
“I expected about 1,500 volunteers to sign up for the trial in the first week considering that the city has a vibrant volunteer spirit, but was surprised by the limited turnout,” Dr Naidu said.
According to a researcher involved in the trials, only 262 volunteers have come forward so far.