Karnataka is fully prepared for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Wednesday, as the phase-III clinical trial of "Covaxin" being developed by Bharat Biotech began in the state.
The minister said it was a matter of pride for the state with clinical trials taking place at 25 centres of 12 states across the country. He said 26,000 people were being administered the vaccine with 1,600-1,800 people being vaccinated on a trial basis in Karnataka.
People should be wary of rumours and misinformation during this trial period, he was quoted as saying by his office at the launch of the 3rd phase clinical trials of Covaxin at Vydehi Institute of Medical Science and Research Centre.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa participated in the event. Clintrac International Pvt Ltd and Vydehi Hospital have partnered to initiate the third phase of the trial, and the vaccine will be given to the volunteers in two doses, the first on Wednesday.
The second dose will be administered on December 30, officials said.
Sudhakar said there may be side effects of vaccination and experts will be observing it carefully and there was no need for panic at this stage. Pointing out that the Narendra Modi government at the centre has reserved Rs 900 crore for vaccine research, he said the Yediyurappa government in Karnataka has released Rs 300 crore for providing COVID treatment free of cost.
The minister said 1.25 lakh tests are conducted per day in the state and 1.2 crore free Covid tests have been conducted so far. Karnataka was fully prepared for vaccine distribution and 29,451 vaccine distribution centres have been identified with 10,008 trained staff ready for the task on hand, he noted.
He also pointed out that 2,855 cold storage centres were available for storage of vaccines. Regional centres are being set up in Bengaluru, Shivamogga and Ballari, he said, adding that Healthcare workers will be given vaccination in the first phase followed by frontline warriors, people aged above 50 and those with comorbidities.