Indian doctors have warned that the sale of unauthorized Covid-19 vaccines on the black market, where vendors ask for bitcoin as payment, is illegal. According to the doctors, the unsanctioned marketing of the vaccine to the elite is prevalent in the state of Karnataka. Some doctors say the Indian government must intervene by tracking down these vendors.
Vaccine for VIPs
As media reports from that country confirm, doctors “have been getting calls from VIP patients, wanting to know whether these Covid-19 vaccines offered by certain dealers are genuine and can be taken.” For instance, the president of the Indian Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (Phana) has acknowledged learning about such vaccine sales.
The Phana president, who is identified as “Dr. HM Prasanna” in one report, claims “he heard that certain vaccines are being administered to residents for bitcoin.” While Prasanna is condemning the unsanctioned sales, he does, however, ask potential buyers of the unsanctioned vaccines to “exercise caution (in such cases) and follow the government’s guidelines in this regard.”
Citizens Must Wait for Government Approved Vaccine
In the meantime, such reports of unverified Covid-19 vaccines being exchanged for bitcoin are coming as “the distribution of (any) such vaccines in the country is still considered illegal.” Instead of resorting to the illegal vaccines, Indian doctors insist “citizens must wait for the government to roll out the product through the Drug Controller General of India.”
Meanwhile, another doctor, Giridhara Babu, an epidemiologist and member of the Technical Advisory Committee for Covid-19 management in the Karnataka state, says he has not personally come across such vaccines on the black market. However, Babu, who is urging the Indian government to clamp down on the illegal vaccine vendors, claims the sale and distribution of such Covid-19 vaccines worsen “the inequities since only those with money and power can gain access.”
On the other hand, Babu explains that “those taking such vaccines might be under the impression that it’s an immunity booster, but they may end up taking a useless product.” Meanwhile, India is set to start its Covid-19 vaccination drive from January 16 and priority will be given to healthcare and frontline workers.
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