India: Bihar woman gets two doses of different COVID-19 vaccines on same day

Bihar vaccine senior citizens
Senior citizens stand in queue to get COVID-19 vaccines during the second phase of vaccination, in Patna on Friday, March 5, 2021. Image Credit: ANI

Patna: A 63-year-old woman in Bihar was administered two doses of COVID-19 vaccine from two different companies within a short interval on the same day. The woman is under observation.

Sunila Devi, wife of Ravindra Mahato from Patna district, had reached a vaccination centre in Punpun block town on Wednesday to get the vaccine. At the centre villagers were required to bring their Aadhar (national identity) cards for on-the-spot “hassle-free” vaccination.

Two counters were set up in a single room at the government school to vaccinate people of two age-groups — one for people above 18 years of age and the second for people above 45.

When Sunila Devi’s turn came, she was administered the first dose of Covaxin — which has been developed by Bharat Biotech – and told to wait for some time to see if she had any complications.

After some time, however, the woman stood in another queue thinking it was mandatory for everyone to take vaccines at both the counters. Soon, she was administered the Covishield vaccine (Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India) too by the health workers without any inquiry.

Angry villagers protested at the vaccination centre after learning that the woman had been given both the doses of vaccines at a very short interval.

Health check-up

Soon after getting the information, health officer Sanjay Kumar rushed a medical team to the woman’s home for a health check-up. The woman is said to be fine but is under observation. The medical officer has also issued show-cause notices to two nurses for gross negligence.

A senior health official and AIIMS-Patna’s nodal officer for COVID-19, Dr Sanjeev Kumar, said the woman would be tested for antibodies after 14 days if she didn’t show any reaction.

Bihar is a poor performer in COVID-19 vaccination. According to data shared by the health ministry, the state has inoculated only 15.11 per cent of its eligible population with the first dose of vaccine so far.

An official report said a maximum of 3.43 million beneficiaries who took their first dose are above 60 years, closely followed by 3.19 million in the 45-59 age group, and 2.63 million above 18. Bihar, with 104 million people, is the third most densely populated state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

There is good news, too. Bijbani South village council in Bihar’s East Champaran district has become the first council in the state to have been fully vaccinated. According to health officials, it took two months for the vaccination teams to inoculate all villagers in the required age-groups. The state has a total of 8,406 village councils, which are a cluster of villages.