Antibody survey to weigh potency
A study is being done at Apollo Gleneagles Hospital which may provide valuable data to indicate how effective the Covishield vaccine is. The Bypass hospital is one of the vaccination centres in the first phase.
“We have undertaken a project whereby a survey will be conducted among 1,500 of our colleagues. We are testing once just before the first injection, again just before the second injection after 28 days and then we will repeat the test a month later to see if antibodies have developed,” said Mahesh Goenka, director, Institute of Gastro Sciences and Liver Transplant. The antibody test will come positive if the vaccine is effective.
The test, he said, would be repeated at regular intervals to check how long the protection continues.
“After two months, we will be able to say how effective the vaccine is. It must have been tested already in a controlled environment before it was launched. But this might be the first study which will tell us its efficacy in a real-life scenario in the population. Of course, it will be a population of healthcare workers,” said Goenka, who himself took the jab at the hospital on Saturday.
On Day 1, 107 people were inoculated from the Apollo rolls, overshooting the day’s target of 100. But on Day 2 and 3, the figure fell to 74 and 76 respectively, with several listed recipients from outside not turning up.
Director, Institute of Gastro Sciences and Liver Transplant, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals
Resident of: BH Block (permanent), Silver Spring (temporary)
Took the jab at: 10.50am. I was the third person in the queue.
State of mind: Though we were getting WhatsApp messages from colleagues all across the country that so many people had complications or side effects, I had no misgivings, not even one per cent.
After four days: I have no problem. Not even local pain. Some of my colleagues felt weakness or muscle pain. Nobody had anything significant. But for me, it was perfect. I went to work straightaway.
Brush with Covid: No, I did not have it. I was tasting my PCR regularly and tested my antibody at least five times in this period. I would have been happy if I had developed antibody. But it came negative. We were coming in contact with patients in the outpatient department, who we listen to and examine. Also when we do surgery, we often come to know later that the patient was Covid-19 positive. So we were always worried. There must have been 40-50 cases when I got exposed. I was doing OPD all along except for two weeks after I returned from South America in March when I quarantined myself. I may be a senior citizen but I do not have comorbidities.
If you would have taken Covaxin: I was sure I would take whatever was available.
Confidence level now: Being in medical science, I know that within three days of taking the vaccine, it is not giving any protection to me. I am looking forward to taking the second vaccine. I cannot relax one bit now. It is only after 15 days of taking the second dose that we can expect antibodies.
Senior consultant in pulmonary and critical care, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals
Resident of: Highland Woods, New Town
Took the jab at: 10.45am. I was the first in my hospital to take it. I had been the first to get into the Covid unit and admitted the first Covid patient in our hospital. I still remember the date and time — March 27, 8.10pm. So our hospital gave me this privilege.
State of mind then: I was not nervous at all. The safety of the vaccine is well-proven. Even if the efficacy is 50 per cent it will give us more chance of herd immunity. If two people next to me get good immune response from the vaccine even if I do not, it helps me. Then even if a fourth person gets infected, these two will form a ring around me and I will be safe. The chain of transmission will break. It will reduce the geometric progression of infection to arithmetic progression if enough people in the transmission chain develop immunity from the vaccine even if everyone does not.
After four days: I have no problem.
Brush with Covid: No, I haven’t had Covid-19 despite treating more than 2,000 patients in the last nine months and doing aerosol-generating procedures like incubation, ventilation, tracheostomy and bronchoscopy.
If you would have taken Covaxin: Yes. Theoretically it is a better vaccine as it uses an inactivated virus (i.e. killed Covid-19 virus). Covishield is a subunit vaccine. It uses spike protein using an adenovirus vector. So, you are not giving the blood brother but the cousin. Obviously, it would have been better if Covaxin got two or three weeks more to present their data. That could have avoided the misgivings.
Confidence level now: It won’t stop me from wearing a mask, avoiding close environment and close contact. I will wait for millions around to be vaccinated to feel confident.
Chief gastrointestinal and liver transplant intensivist, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals
Resident of: Sanai Abasan, New Town
Took the jab at: 10.50am
State of mind then: I was eager to take the vaccine as soon as it became available. Since I am an infectious diseases specialist and intensivist, I know about vaccine protocol. After half an hour of being under observation, I came back to my ITU and did the rounds.
After four days: There is mild myalgia (muscle pain) but that happens for any vaccine that is injected.
Brush with Covid: No, I did not get it despite working in the critical care unit. We did the first cadavar liver transplant in eastern India in Covid times.
If you would have taken Covaxin: Yes. Both are safe. The central government doctors have taken it. The adverse effects of all these vaccines are coming at 0.2 or 0.5 per cent which is acceptable for any vaccine.
Confidence level now: I feel confident. But I am using all the protective gear till I get the second dose.
Paediatrician, Bidhannagar Subdivisional Hospital
Resident of: Madurdaha
Took the jab at: 10.45am. Was the first to take it at the hospital.
State of mind then: As a paediatrician, I know about vaccination and the possible side effects. I lost a friend and batchmate at Medical College to Covid-19. His registration number was just before mine. I feel emotional and also realise the need for vaccination.
Brush with Covid: No.
Confidence level now: High. Those who are getting the chance should take the vaccine at the first chance. Save yourself and thus save others.
Anaesthetist and in charge of the rapid response team at the vaccination centre at Bidhannagar Subdivisional Hospital
Resident of: Rajdanga, Kasba
Took the jab at: 10.50am
State of mind then: The nurses briefed me about the vaccine. I am aware of its theoretical side. Only after the taking it will we know about its practical side. In my head, it is similar to the tetanus vaccine. Yes, I was a bit scared and spoke to my family. But since I head the rapid response team, I had to step up.
Brush with Covid: No.
Confidence level now: They kept me under observation for half an hour. I am feeling fine now. In fact, I am on duty here.