All India Institute of Medical Sciences, one of the sites for the coronavirus vaccine trials for Bharat Biotech's candidate Covaxin has put up advertisements inviting volunteers to enrol for the Phase 3 trials. The last date of enrolment is December 31. This advertisement comes after reports of AIIMS struggling to find the required number of volunteers for the trials. AIIMS needs around 1,500 volunteers for the trials.
"AIIMS, New Delhi is a site for COVAXIN Phase III Clinical Trial. This is a whole-virion inactivated vaccine co-sponsored by ICMR and Bharat Biotech. Please note that Phase 1/2 trials (safety and immunogenicity) have already been completed. Those who wish to participate in the trial may send a WhatsApp message at 91-7428847499 or through an email at firstname.lastname@example.org," reads the advertisement.
Earlier officials had said that people are unwilling to participate in the exercise thinking why take part in the trials when the vaccine would soon be available for everybody.
"We wanted 1,500-2,000 participants but so far, we have been able to recruit only around 200 participants. People are unwilling to participate in the exercise thinking why take part in a trial when a vaccine would be available soon for everyone," Dr Sanjay Rai, professor in the department of community medicine at the AIIMS and also the principal investigator of the study, had said earlier.
Volunteers opted out of the procedure when it was explained that the trials would be double-blind randomised placebo-controlled meaning that 50 per cent would be given the shot and 50 per cent would receive the placebo.
He had said when the Phase 1 trial was to begin, they needed 100 participants but received over 4,500 applications. Even during the Phase 2 trial, the hospital received around 4,000 applications.
Dr Rai said people should come forward to participate in the trial and they are planning to raise awareness through advertisements, e-mails and phone calls on why it is important to take part in the clinical trial to get a safe and efficacious vaccine.