Over the last several months India has had several political leaders testing positive from COVID-19, with some unfortunately succumbing to the virus. But while it is no longer unique to hear than a well known personality has tested positive for the virus, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij's recent tweet has been met with stunned surprise. You see, a little more than two weeks ago he had participated in the Phase 3 trials for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
"I have been tested Corona positive. I am admitted in Civil Hospital Ambala Cantt. All those who have come in close contact to me are advised to get themselves tested for corona," Vij tweeted on Saturday morning.
For the uninitiated, Covaxin is currently undergoing third phase trials with around 26,000 participants in over 25 centres across India. Vij has led this round of the trials on November 20, after volunteering to take a trial dose.
"I Will be administered trial dose of Coronavirus vaccine #Covaxin a Bharat Biotech product Tomorrow at 11 am at Civil Hospital, Ambala Cantt under the expert supervision of a team of Doctors from PGI Rohtak and Health Department. I have volunteered to take the trial dose," he had tweeted on November 19.
According to the details about the trial that have been reported thus far, the participants will receive two intramuscular injections about 28 days apart. Not everyone will receive the vaccine injection. Participants will be randomly assigned to either receive either two 6-microgram injections of Covaxin or two shots of a placebo.
Now, we do not know if Vij was part of the placebo group. However his own comments, as well as the many media reports that had followed his offer to join the trials suggest that he had received a dose of Covaxin. It is also not clear whether two weeks would have been enough time for someone to develop immunity when the second dose of the vaccine is yet to be administered. As such, it is impossible to debate at present about the efficacy of the vaccine.
That however has not stopped social media users. While some appeared to be alarmed by the news, others saw this as an opportunity to take a jibe at the BJP-led government. Many others also wondered whethe Vij had indeed received the vaccine (as opposed to a placebo dose) and how he would even know about the same.
Take a look at some of the comments: