- 4 NGOs working with Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims have written to PM Modi over illegitimate Covaxin trials on the victims
- The NGOs have alleged gross violations of laws and guidelines.
- They have also demanded monetary compensation for damage caused to participants in vaccine trials.
THD NewsDesk, Madhya Pradesh: Resisting against the immoral Covaxin vaccine trials on Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors, four NGOs dedicated to the cause of helping 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy victims wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 10. The NGOs have demanded the immediate stopping of the ongoing clinical trials for Covaxin on people unaware of the health hazards that the vaccine candidate could cause to humans. The non-profit organizations have alleged that these trials of the vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, along with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in Bhopal, are “gross violation of laws and guidelines.”
Among others, Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Nawab Khan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, and Nausheen Khan of Children Against Dow Carbide have written powerful letters to the Union government. The letter stated, “We are writing to you to apprise you of the on-ground situation concerning the conduct of the trial. Evidence has emerged that Bhopal’s trial is being conducted in gross violation of laws and guidelines governing clinical trials in India. This is leading to exploitation and harm to a community of people that are not just economically and socially deprived, but whose health is compromised owing to the destructive impact and its consequences”.
In the strongly worded letter, the NGOs have asked that for a probe into the cause. They have demanded that the “responsible parties who were negligent in ensuring the safety, well being and the rights of the trial participants” be penalized. Further, they have asked for monetary compensation for “damages caused during the Covaxin trial in Bhopal” and a separate 50 lakh compensation ex-gratia to the deceased victim’s family.
Rashida Bee informed the media, “At least 700 of the 1,700 people on who this vaccine, with unknown efficacy, is being tested, are the people poisoned by Union Carbide (gas leak in 1984).”
“One gas victim has already died within 10 days of getting the trial shot, and many continue to have health complaints of serious nature,” she stated.
Bee claimed that nobody was punished for the “death of 13 gas victims during the trials by pharma companies at the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre some 12 years ago”.
Demanding that audio/video consent be taken of the participants to avoid irregularities in the conduct of the Covaxin trials, Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action said, “People whose health is compromised due to Union Carbide’s poisons are being given the Covaxin trial shots without their knowledge or consent.”
“No records are kept of the health problems the trial’s participants have had following the shots, and several have been turned away without tending to the adverse effects of the shots. Trial participants who leave or are excluded halfway are denied care and are not followed up,” she alleged.
Shehzadi Bee from Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha asserted, “In addition to the immediate stopping of the trial and awarding compensation for the gas victim who has died during this trial; we demand a thorough and impartial audit, criminal punishment to officials and institutions responsible for this public health disaster and compensation for injuries caused due to the trial vaccines.”
“By ignoring the ongoing criminal irregularities in the Covaxin trial in Bhopal, the Government is potentially unleashing a public health disaster on the 16th of this month,” said Nousheen Khan of the Children Against Dow Carbide.
It is pointed out by other activists as well that vulnerable people are being administered Covaxin without being informed of its possible side-effects. They contend that the necessary procedure and protocol of conducting clinical trials of the vaccine on people is disregarded that constitutes human rights violations. In response to the allegations, Bharat Biotech has held that the deaths are unconnected to Covaxin, as the preliminary reviews also suggest.
Source – India Today