Happy I got Covaxin shot: NITI Aayog's VK Paul

The chairman of the National Task Force on Covid-19 and a member of the NITI Aayog, Dr VK Paul, was among those who got their Covid vaccination at the AIIMS in New Delhi on Saturday. In an interview after getting his shot, he tells Prerna Katiyar people should accept whatever vaccine they get for now. Edited excerpts:

Did you choose your vaccine?

I did not. I feel fortunate, happy and proud that I have received Covaxin. If the larger AIIMS family takes it, it demonstrates the faith in the goodness and the robustness of Covaxin. I want to urge people to drop any doubts they may have. Today is a great day and a golden opportunity to slowly inch back to normalcy. Once the authorities have taken a decision, those processes should be respected. I urge everyone to please embrace the vaccine allotted to them without any doubts.

What about the controversy around the lack of phase-3 clinical trial data for Covaxin? Have we hurried the inoculation drive?

More data will come soon. All vaccines being administered around the world are operating under the emergency use authorisation regulatory system. It means that under unusual circumstances, you modify the criteria in such a way that you look at the overwhelming benefit. Had this happened somewhere else, we would have copied it. Certain decisions can’t wait in the face of a calamity of this kind.

Many say they would wait and watch rather than take the shots immediately.

If you are a candidate in the priority group, by taking the vaccine, you are not just protecting yourself, but also your family and society. This is not the time to say I want A or B. No nation has given a choice because no one has enough vaccines. Options will come in the future. Today you have to be part of the vaccination movement. The country needs you.

What is the basis of distributing Covishield and Covaxin with states?

I can’t go into the exact numbers but a certain ratio of the total dosage allotted to a state is Covaxin and rest is Covishield. States will decide what goes where. We have more supply of Covishield.

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